When a person has astigmatism, parts of the image projected on the retina are unfocused. This causes some, or all, of the rays of light to not be able to focus on the retina properly.
Mostly, the cause is when the cornea has a rugby ball shape rather than a perfectly round football shape.
Normally, someone with astigmatism is born with the condition because it is likely that it is genetic. Moreover, astigmatism is linked with other conditions such as myopia and hyperopia. You can, however, develop astigmatism after an eye injury, eye surgery, or eye disease.
It sounds scary, but astigmatism is a very common eye condition. In fact, research shows that approximately 30% of people experience it!
Somebody with astigmatism struggles to see objects from any distance – whether farsighted or nearsighted. No matter the distance, objects appear blurry, distorted, or unfocused.
In addition, symptoms can include headaches, eye strain, caused by having to squint to see clearly.
If you experience any these symptoms, you need to get your eyes tested!
An optician can easily diagnose astigmatism during a normal eye test.
You can easily correct the condition by wearing glasses that have lenses with variable powers (also known as toric lenses), or toric contact lenses. There is also the possibility to have corrective eye surgery, where a laser reshapes the cornea.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent the development of astigmatism. Similarly, you cannot get astigmatism from sitting too close to the television.
Experts recommend annual eye tests. If you would like to read more about our free extended eye tests, click here!