What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common and treatable eye condition. Our eyes are shaped like a ball. In a normal eye the front surface is round like a football. If you have astigmatism the eye is shaped more like an oval rugby ball. This could sometimes lead to blurred vision which can lead to eye discomfort and headaches. Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).

People can be born with astigmatism or it may develop later on in life. Sometimes astigmatism may develop following an eye injury or eye surgery. Astigmatism can’t be prevented but it can easily be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Astigmatism is not caused by looking at a computer screen or television for too long and it is not caused by reading in a poorly lit area.

Many people have a degree of astigmatism in their eyes and their sight is usually unaffected. If the astigmatism is more severe you might notice blurring and distortion of objects which are near or far away. You might also get headaches when trying to focus. This can also lead to tired eyes.

An eye specialist can diagnose astigmatism through a comprehensive eye examination. They might carry out a refraction or sight test to measure the focusing power of your eyes. They might also carry out keratometry.

A keratometer is an instrument used to measure the curvature of the cornea (the front of you eye). By focusing a circle of light on the cornea and measuring its reflection, it is possible to determine the exact curvature of areas of the cornea. This is very important for fitting contact lenses used to correct astigmatism like Alcon’s Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus Toric and Air Optix Plus Hydraglyde for Astigmatism contact lenses.


People with astigmatism have a number of options to regain clear vision. These include:

1. Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses for people with astigmatism contain a special cylindrical lens prescription which compensates for astigmatism.

2. Contact lenses

When compared to glasses, contact lenses generally provide more clear vision and a wider field of view which makes them a great choice if you have astigmatism. Special toric soft contact lenses can be worn to correct astigmatism. Alcon’s Dailies Aqua Comfort Plus Toric contact lenses are daily disposable contact lenses which correct astigmatism and also contain blink-activated moisture technology to provide superior comfort.

If you prefer monthly lenses, Alcon’s Air Optix Plus Hydraglyde for Astigmatism lenses correct astigmatism giving you clear vision with consistent comfort. A proper fitting, done by an eye specialist prior to wearing toric contact lenses, is crucial for good results.
Refractive eye surgery

Astigmatism can be corrected by reshaping the cornea through refractive eye surgery. The cornea is reshaped by laser, small incisions or implants but this is usually only suitable for adults when the eye has finished growing.

If you have or think you could have astigmatism consult with an eye specialist to see which treatment suits your lifestyle best. It is also important to get your eyes checked regularly if you have astigmatism or any other eye problems.