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What is astigmatism?

You may or may not have heard your eye doctor mention that you have astigmatism at your eye exam. If so, hopefully you didn't think it was an eye disease, because it certainly is not!


Astigmatism is very common and just means that the shape and curvature of the front of your eye, the cornea, and/or the lens inside you eye isn't the same in all directions. Instead, there are some imperfections in the curvature that causes light rays to bend differently and focus in more than one spot at the back of the eye (the retina).


In other words, it can cause your vision to be blurry and contribute to what we call your "refractive error," similar to being near-sighted or far-sighted. But rather than affecting your vision at only one distance, astigmatism affects vision both far away and up close.


Some symptoms you might experience are:

-distortion, objects might appear too tall or short or wide or thin

-"shadowing" around letters

-headaches and eye strain in part because of eye squinting


Why do you have it? Corneal shape differs from person to person, but like with a lot of things (height, eye color, etc) there is a genetic component to astigmatism. Astigmatism can also be induced from eye surgery, eye injury, and/or eye disease.


If you feel like you aren't seeing too well or are squinting more often, schedule an eye exam today!

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