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Astigmatism is a relatively common eye condition that affects 1 out of every 3 Americans. It is a refractive error of the eye, much like myopia1 and hyperopia2. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, though slight astigmatism usually doesn’t affect vision or require any treatment.

A refractive error of the eye refers to our eye’s ability to refract (bend) light properly.  Astigmatism causes the light entering your eye to be refracted improperly due to an optical imperfection, directly affecting how well you perceive objects both near and far.

If you have astigmatism, you will experience blurry vision when looking at an object, regardless of lighting or distance.

What Causes Astigmatism?

Typically, our eye is naturally shaped like a sphere. Astigmatism causes the shape of your eye’s cornea or lens to present as an elongated shape similar to a football.

This irregular shape is caused by small differences in the growth and alignment of your eye. The outcome of this optical imperfection is the improper refraction of light rays as they enter your eye, resulting in distorted, blurry vision.

The exact reason why the corneal shape differs amongst us is not known at this time, though research suggests many patients inherit the tendency to develop astigmatism.

What Are The Symptoms of Astigmatism?

Symptoms typically associated with astigmatism are:

  • Objects both near and far are blurry
  • Difficulty reading small print
  • Squinting to focus
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches

How is Astigmatism Treated?

Regaining clear vision from your astigmatism is possible through effective and non-invasive treatment methods.

The common choice for most patients with astigmatism is corrective eyewear via contact lenses3 or eyeglasses4.

If you are deemed to be a good surgery candidate, corrective eye surgery5 may be a great choice for treating your astigmatism. Most patients do not need eyeglasses or contact lenses post surgery.
If you do not qualify for corrective eye surgery, or you would like to try another non-invasive option, there is a treatment called Orthokeratology (Ortho-K or CRT). Also referred to as corneal refractive therapy, this method involves a series of specially designed rigid, breathable contact lenses that are worn overnight and taken out the following morning.

These lenses gradually reshape the curvature of your cornea, thereby allowing the light entering your eye to refract properly. This temporary effect will provide clear vision that lasts for the majority of your day.