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What Is Astigmatism?

What Is Astigmatism?


Astigmatism is a vision condition that results in blurred vision, which is caused the by a curvature of the lens or the cornea’s irregular shape. With astigmatism, light is prevented from focusing correctly on the retina, and that causes the problem.

Almost everyone has astigmatism in some form, and since a slight amount of astigmatism will not affect an individual’s vision, no treatment is required for many of us. In more severe cases, however, people experience blurred or distorted vision, headaches, and eye discomfort that should not be ignored.

Astigmatism is often accompanied by other vision conditions, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, which medical professionals refer to as “refractive errors.” Its exact cause is unknown, but it may be hereditary in some cases. This condition is usually diagnosed in a comprehensive eye examination and, based on the extent of the problem, your eye doctor will prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct the way in which your eyes focus.

Surgery Is Another Option

If your vision problems are severe enough to warrant it, your eye doctor may feel that refractive surgery, which will permanently alter the shape of the cornea, should be your method of treatment. This procedure is intended to restore your eye’s focusing power by enabling the lights to focus accurately on the retina and correct your vision problems.

Taking Care of Your Eyes

If vision problems are interfering with your ability to complete ordinary tasks or lessening your enjoyment of social activities, it is time to consult with an eye doctor who can pinpoint the problem and explain the options that are available to improve your vision.

Healthy adults who are over 40 should have their eyes examined approximately every two to four years. Once they reach the age of 65, they should have them tested every year or two for possible vision problems. In addition, more frequent testing is recommended for those who are diabetic or at risk for developing certain serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration.



“Astigmatism.” American Optometric Association – Serving Doctors of Optometry & their Patients. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2010.

“Georgia Health Info.” Georgia Health Info. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Aug. 2010. <>.


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