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Pritchard-Cowburn Opticians News

I Have Astigmatism – What Is It?

“Astigmatism might be the most misunderstood vision problem”

Gary Heiting, All About Vision

You may have been told when you last had your eyes tested, or when you were issued with glasses for the first time, that you had astigmatism.

Have you been wondering just what that means?

As Gary Heiting points out, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding Astigmatism, not least the name!

Astigmatism is a minor condition of the eye that occurs when the cornea or lens is not a perfect curve shape. It causes blurred and distorted vision and can cause a problem in areas of your life where you are required to focus, such as reading or computer work.

“A study of more than 11,000 spectacle wearers conducted recently in the UK, showed that almost 50 per cent had some degree of astigmatism in one or both eyes”

The British Contact Lens Association

Astigmatism is very common and most people who wear glasses have some degree of the condition.

If left untreated, astigmatism can cause headaches and eye strain or fatigue. Squinting is also a common symptom of astigmatism.

Why Does It Happen?


The cornea, the transparent layer of tissue at the front of the eye, should be shaped like a football. In the case of someone with astigmatism, however, the cornea is more like a rugby ball in shape. This irregular curve in the cornea or lens means that light rays entering the eye are not focused properly.

There are two main types of astigmatism. Regular astigmatism is present from birth, and is easily corrected. Irregular astigmatism, however, can be caused by a corneal scar or scattering in the crystalline lens. Irregular astigmatism has been known to develop as a result of an eye injury or from eye operation complications.

Astigmatism will be diagnosed during a regular eye test, where your ability to focus is challenged.


How Is It Treated?

In cases where vision is significantly affected by astigmatism, then it can be corrected using glasses or contact lenses. Laser treatment can also be used to permanently correct astigmatism.

If you are having trouble focusing, or are suffering from blurred vision, book an eye test today. There is a chance you may have uncorrected astigmatism. We have branches in Pembroke Dock, Narberth and Cardigan. Get in touch today to book an appointment.

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