Astigmatism FAQ

Astigmatism is the most common eye condition in the U.S. It can occur with other vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and presbyopia (aged lenses). The normal shape of the cornea is round and it helps refract light, along with the lens, and focus it on your retina so you can see clearly.

With astigmatism, your eye is shaped more like a football, which requires additional correction when treating your vision problems. Advances in technology make it possible to provide you with corrective lenses and even laser eye surgery to treat your astigmatism along with other eye conditions. An eye exam is necessary to determine if you have astigmatism.

Signs and symptoms

Astigmatism will cause the light entering your eye to focus incorrectly. The focus may converge either in front of, or behind the retina. Some of the signs of astigmatism include:

  • Blurriness
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain

Depending on the position of the astigmatism, it may affect vision along the horizontal plane, or the vertical plane of sight.

There are two different types of astigmatism:

  • Regular – With regular astigmatism, the lens is toric, or shaped like a football that is laying on it side, or standing on end.
  • Irregular – An irregular astigmatism may be caused by trauma or disease that results in irregularities in the cornea or lens.

Because of the odd shape of the cornea, light may focus on two spots on the retina, not just one.

Causes of astigmatism

In most cases, astigmatism is passed on from your parents. The astigmatism may get worse as you get older.
Other causes of astigmatism include:

  • Injury
  • Illness
  • Surgery

Treatment options

Traditional treatments include specially shaped lenses that refract the light in order to account for the odd shape of the cornea or lens. There are many treatment options available for astigmatism including:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Toric contact lenses
  • RGP glasses or contact lenses
  • LASIK surgery

These corrective measures help bend the light back into proper focus on the retina. These treatments may also treat myopia or hyperopia in addition to your astigmatism.

Custom LASIK with Wavefront

When you have a regular or irregular astigmatism, your LASIK surgery needs to be modified to account for the shape of the eye. These measurements are made with Wavefront eye mapping technology and will help Dr. Huynh guide the laser in just the right manner to account for these anomalies.

Only a comprehensive eye exam can determine if your vision problems include astigmatism. In the San Diego, La Jolla, Mira Mesa or Scripps Ranch area, please contact Ophthalmologist Dr. Huynh at Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc. to schedule an initial consultation.