• Prairie Eye Care

What Is Astigmatism & How Does It Affect My Vision?

Has your optometrist recently said you have astigmatism? Is your vision getting a bit blurry? Most of us know it affects our eyesight, however, the details of astigmatism remain a mystery to most.

In this article, we’ll delve a bit deeper into the what, why, and how of astigmatism and demystify this eye condition once and for all.

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of the cornea or lens of your eye. The shape of a normal eye is almost completely round, but with astigmatism, the eye is more curved, resembling the shape of a football rather than a basketball.

With a normal rounded cornea, light bends evenly into your eye resulting in clear and consistent vision. With a curved cornea, however, light bends into your eyes at different angles, meaning that only some of the light comes into focus at any given time. The results in objects looking blurry.

Doctors call this improper light bending a refractive error. While astigmatism is very common, doctors do not yet know what causes it, although genetics plays a strong role. Astigmatism can develop at many different stages, including just after an eye disease, eye surgery, or eye injury. Contrary to popular myths, astigmatism cannot develop from reading in poor light.

Symptoms Of Astigmatism

Astigmatism can present several symptoms, but not everyone experiences the same symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Squinting

  • Blurred or fuzzy vision

  • Irritated eyes

  • Eye discomfort

  • Headaches

While all these symptoms can indicate astigmatism, they also may indicate several other eye-related and non-eye-related issues. Thus it’s important to not ignore any symptoms and get them checked out right away through a comprehensive eye exam.

Types Of Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is seen in a few different ways.

Corneal astigmatism occurs when your cornea has a different shape, and lenticular astigmatism occurs when your lens has a different shape.

There are 3 types of astigmatism:

  • Myopic astigmatism - one or both of the principal meridians (degrees) of the eye are nearsighted