Astigmatism

Witlin Center for Advanced Eyecare

Ophthalmologists located in East Brunswick, NJ

Astigmatism occurs when the focusing mechanisms of your eyes have irregular shapes and typically compromises your vision across the range of distances you need to see. The eye care professionals at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care, serving East Brunswick, Toms River, and Morristown, New Jersey, can advise you on this common condition that’s often too minor to need correction, but which may also be pronounced enough to require corrective action. Call or click today for a consultation.

Astigmatism Q & A

What is astigmatism?

The focusing components of your eye, the cornea, and lens have a regular, symmetrical shape in a healthy eye, a smooth and even curve. When you have astigmatism, the curves are more ovoid, or egg-like. When light hits an eye with astigmatism, the abnormal shape prevents proper focus on the retina, so vision at all distances may be blurry.

Often present at birth and frequently occurring in combination with near or farsightedness, astigmatism isn’t always severe enough to compromise your vision. When it does, however, corrective lenses are the first line of treatment, and surgical options are available for more permanent vision correction.

What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

Astigmatism shares the same symptoms as other eye disorders, so seeing an eye care professional at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care is your best choice for accurate diagnosis as well as to discuss all your treatment options.

The most common symptoms of astigmatism are:

  • Distorted or blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain or eye discomfort
  • Squinting to sharpen vision

Since astigmatism may be present from birth and since children may not know their eyesight is abnormal, regular vision screening throughout childhood is important to detect astigmatism.

How is astigmatism treated?

The uneven curves of astigmatic eyes are often corrected with lenses, either in eyeglasses or contact lenses. Eyeglass lenses can be ground to compensate for the irregularities of cornea and lens shape and can also correct for other refractive errors, such as near and farsightedness.

Toric contact lenses are typically a specially designed soft contact to treat astigmatism.

While most are made from hydrogel or silicone hydrogel, rigid gas permeable toric contacts are available. Toric contacts usually are weighted at the bottom, so they remain in proper alignment to correct your astigmatism.

Contacts are also used in orthokeratology, a procedure that uses rigid contacts to reshape your cornea. Typically, you wear these lenses several hours daily until your eye reshapes, then less frequently to maintain the new shape.

There are surgical solutions for astigmatism as well, including laser surgeries such as LASIK or PRK. There’s no single best solution, so discuss your options with your doctor.