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What Is Astigmatism?

While most people may have heard of the terms nearsightedness and farsightedness, some eye care patients may ask, “What is astigmatism?” after their eye exam with an eye care professional. Astigmatism is a common refractive error that causes vision to be out of focus because the cornea is abnormally curved. While no one knows what causes astigmatism to occur, it is typically present from birth and run in families. It is often and accompanied with other refractive errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. It can even occur after specific types of eye surgery such as cataract surgery.

What Can Patients Do About It?

Astigmatism is typically diagnosed early in life, so it is important for parents to be aware of the symptoms and schedule eye exams for younger children. Symptoms that can occur with astigmatism are blurred vision, headaches, or eye strain after prolonged tasks such as reading. A doctor can detect astigmatism during a simple eye exam. The test for astigmatism that an eye doctor uses is called a retinoscopy. However, this test is slowly being replaced with an automated refraction.

How Is Astigmatism Treated?

Astigmatism can be treated in three ways: traditional glasses, surgery and contact lenses. While astigmatism had to be treated with hard contact lenses in the past, it can now be treated with soft toric lenses such as CooperVision’s Avaira Toric, Biofinity Toric, Proclear Toric.

Remember, astigmatism is common and simple to detect. So if you want to learn more about astigmatism, ask your eye care professional. If you don’t have an eye doctor, you use our Find An Eye Doctor tool.

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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