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Woman's eyes

Astigmatism: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments 

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash


What is Astigmatism? 

Astigmatism is a very common eye condition that causes blurred or distorted vision at all distances. Almost all of us have it to some degree. It can affect one or both eyes, and often occurs in tandem with other vision conditions like near-sightedness (myopia) and far-sightedness (hyperopia). Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or "refract" light.

What causes Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is usually caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or lens. Instead of the cornea or lens being perfectly round (like a football), it is shaped more like an egg (or a rugby ball). 

The cornea and lens are mostly responsible for focusing the light that enters your eye on the retina. A perfectly curved cornea and lens can bend, or refract, light properly as it enters the eye, allowing you to see things clearly. When the cornea or lens is irregularly shaped it causes light to refract incorrectly, so instead of focusing at a single point on the retina, it focuses in two different locations resulting in blurred vision. 

It is not known exactly what causes Astigmatism, but it is thought that genetics plays a big part. It can be present from birth, or it can develop gradually throughout life. You’re also more likely to have astigmatism if you’re long or short-sighted. 

What are the symptoms of Astigmatism?

Sometimes, the symptoms of astigmatism are very mild and may not require vision correction. However, in cases where vision is significantly affected by astigmatism, leaving it unmanaged can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Eye strain or discomfort
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Squinting 

Types of Astigmatism

There are two main types of Astigmatism:

  • Regular Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is curved more in one direction than the other. It is the most common form of astigmatism and can be easily corrected with glasses or toric contact lenses.
  • Irregular Astigmatism is far less common and occurs when the curvature of the cornea is not even across the surface of the eye. It may be the result of an eye injury, or a condition like keratoconus, in which the normally round cornea progressively thins and becomes cone shaped. It can’t always be corrected with glasses, but it may be possible to correct with specialist contact lenses. 

How is Astigmatism Corrected?

Your optician will be able to detect astigmatism during a comprehensive eye exam.  

In most cases, astigmatism can be easily corrected with glasses or a special contact lens called a “toric” lens. Toric lenses compensate for the individual differences in the shape of your eye, enabling light to focus correctly on your retina. 

ACUVUE® offer a range of contact lenses for Astigmatism that offer clear and stable vision with the comfort and convenience of a disposable lens (2).

ACUVUE MOIST 1-DAY for Astigmatism contact lenses1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST for ASTIGMATISM is an exceptional combination of comfort and performance in a daily disposable contact lens. LACREON® Technology with an embedded wetting agent creates a long-lasting cushion of moisture (1). And with an EYELID STABILISED design, you’ll enjoy stable vision throughout the day (2).

If your eyes feel tired from staring at Acuvue Oasys for Astigmatism contact lensesdigital devices or working in challenging environments, the new ACUVUE® OASYS 1-Day for ASTIGMATISM may help you to keep up with your demanding days (3).

The exclusive HydraLuxe™ Technology works in harmony with your natural tear film to provide excellent comfort (2), while the EYELID STABILISED design keeps your vision clear and stable all day long (2) – no matter how active you are. 

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is recommended that you speak to your optician. They will be able to detect and diagnose astigmatism and help you find the best lens to fit your lifestyle. 

† All ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses have UV Blocking to help provide protection against transmission of harmful UV radiation to the cornea and into the eye. UV absorbing contact lenses are NOT substitutes for protective UV absorbing eyewear such as UV absorbing goggles or sunglasses because they do not completely cover the eye and surrounding area. You should continue to use UV absorbing eyewear as directed by your eye care professional. 
1.JJV Data on File 2018. Dual Action Technology and “cushion of moisture” description for 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST Brand Family of Contact Lenses. 
2.JJV data on File 2017. ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses for ASTIGMATISM overall fitting success, orientation position, rotational stability, and vision performance.
3. JJV Data on File 2015; 1-week dispensing evaluation, DW study, n=119 soft CL wearers in the U.S. 81.5% rarely/never experience eye fatigue. 
ACUVUE®, ACUVUE MOIST®, LACREON®, ACUVUE® OASYS and HydraLuxe™ are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd. © Johnson & Johnson Medical Ltd. 2019.