If you have been told that you have astigmatism, you probably have questions. Or, maybe you heard, “a stigmatism.” It’s not a disease of the eye. It is a type of refractive error, like being near-sighted (myopia) or farsighted (hyperopia). Astigmatism affects your vision at all distances, but if it’s mild, you may only notice blurriness at certain distances, or you may not notice it at all. Instead you may experience symptoms of eye strain.
What is Astigmatism?
In astigmatism, your eyeball isn’t perfectly round like a baseball. It is shaped more like a football. Because of the shape, your cornea does not focus light into a single image on your retina. What you see may be blurry, distorted, stretched, or a bit of a double image.
Can People Tell I have Astigmatism by Looking at Me?
No. Even though your eyeball isn’t perfectly round, the difference isn’t noticeable to the naked eye. Other people don’t see it and you can’t tell by just looking at your eyes in the mirror. Most people have some degree of astigmatism.
Why Do I have Astigmatism?
You might have been born with it. It is often an inherited trait. Eye trauma or surgery can be the cause. People with scarring or thinning of the corneas and certain eye conditions, such as keratoconus, as well as those with extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness are at higher risk for astigmatism.
Can I Have Astigmatism in Just One Eye?
Yes. You can have it in just one eye, and you can have it along with other refractive errors.
What Can I do about Astigmatism?
You have several options for clearer vision:
- Refractive surgery, such as LASIK