What is astigmatism?

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common eye condition where the surface of the eye (the cornea) isn’t shaped in the normal way.  As a result, when light enters the eye it can’t focus correctly on the retina, and vision appears blurry.

Astigmatism can affect children and adults.  You might have it from birth, or develop it later, perhaps after an injury to your eye.

Astigmatism is quite a common condition and it may be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery  - book in for an eye test so we can diagnose and treat your astigmatism based on your symptoms.

Causes of astigmatism

What are the causes of astigmatism?

Astigmatism can be a congenital condition (which means you have it from birth).  That’s one of the reasons we encourage eye tests for young children so we can check and get on top of any possible issues as soon as possible.

It can also be hereditary, so again, if it is something that runs in the family, it is an extra incentive to bring your child (or yourself) in for an eye test.

It is possible that you could develop an astigmatism as you age, or perhaps as the result of an injury, so even if you weren’t born with it, we’ll check to see if you are showing any symptoms when we see you for your regular eye test.

Symptoms of astigmatism

What are some of the symptoms of astigmatism?

As we mentioned earlier, if you have astigmatism light can’t focus correctly on your retina, giving you blurry vision.  You may also find that you experience headaches and eye strain.  You might also find it difficult to see in poor light (such as when driving at night).

Of course, these symptoms are commonly experienced with other eye conditions as well, so it is only through an eye test that we can determine if astigmatism is the cause.


How do we treat astigmatism?

Most of the time, astigmatism can be treated by correction, that is, by wearing glasses or contact lenses.

For some cases, we may recommend orthokeratology.  This is where you use contact lenses overnight to reshape the cornea.  This is a gentle, temporary solution that lasts for the following day, before wearing the lenses again each night.

Another solution could be refractive laser surgery.  This is an invasive, but permanent solution.

We can advise you of the most appropriate treatment for your astigmatism, and talk you through the pros and cons of orthokeratology and refractive laser surgery, if those options are best suited to you.

Astigmatism from birth

Where should you start?

Whether for you or your child, the first step is to book in for an eye test.  In the test we’ll measure the curve of your corneas, check how well your eyes focus light and check your vision in general.  Should we find that you have astigmatism, our professional optometrists will then discuss the best option for you and arrange treatment.