What Is Astigmatism?

An astigmatism can be defined as an imperfection that is the result of an eye cornea not having a symmetrically round curvature. A perfect cornea is curved in such a way that allows maximum light to pass through the lens to the retina in the back of your eye (like a basketball).  However, a cornea that is not symmetrically shaped can cause your vision to be near sighted, far sighted, and astigmatic.

Most people who have corneal astigmatism are born with it. In some cases, astigmatism can develop after an eye disease, surgery, or injury.  Some people can have an astigmatism in one eye, while others may have an astigmatism in both eyes.

Apart from blurry vision, you may suffer from an astigmatism if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Trouble focusing
  • Eye strain
  • Constant squinting
  • Eye discomfort

If you have any of the above symptoms – as well as blurry vision – it’s important to make an appointment with your ophthalmologist right away.  Your ophthalmologist will take measurements of your cornea to see if there are any irregularities in how it’s shaped.  Your cornea’s curvature will typically be measured with a keratometer.  If the measurements indicate that you have an imperfect curve in one or both eyes, you will be diagnosed with astigmatism.

Astigmatism is surprisingly common, so there are plenty of treatments to help correct the symptoms.  Most patients will need to wear special glasses or contact lenses that help improve vision.  Some patients may find more permanent relief with LASIK eye surgery.  This surgery corrects the corneal shape to improve vision and eliminate the imperfect corneal curvature.

If you think you might have an astigmatism, schedule an eye exam with ophthalmologist Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA today.

NewView Eye Center serves the greater Washington, DC metro area.