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Forest through glasses

Interactive Astigmatism Experience

Astigmatism is a common condition where the cornea or lens is irregularly shaped. This causes the light entering your eye to be divided into multiple areas, causing blurred vision when looking at objects both near and far.

An insight to astigmatism

Astigmatism is part of a group of eye conditions known as refractive errors. Other members of this group include myopia, hypermetropia and presbyopia.

This condition can be described as corneal or lenticular. The corneal kind is the more common of the two, and it simply means your cornea is not perfectly curved. Similarly, if your lens is irregularly curved, it’s referred to as lenticular astigmatism.

While there are many different causes of astigmatism, the most common is heredity. It will often run in the family and be present at birth, developing as you age.

Symptoms of astigmatism

Often occurring in tandem with myopia or hypermetropia, the most common symptom is blurred vision, but you may also experience:

  • Headaches
  • Squinting (to focus on text or objects)
  • Eye strain (especially when focusing for long periods of time)

If you are experiencing the above, check in with your optician as it could be linked to another condition.

Regular vs Irregular

Limited to just one area on the cornea or lens, regular astigmatism is usually corrected quite easily. It is more common than irregular astigmatism, which is where the cornea is uneven across a number of areas and is usually caused by an eye injury or keratoconus


Regular astigmatism can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, and in some cases, laser eye surgery. The lenses work by bending incoming light rays (to compensate for the underlying refractive error) allowing images to be properly projected onto the retina.

Irregular astigmatism can only be corrected with Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses. They’re thicker than soft contact lenses and their stability provides a rounder shape over the cornea which allows light entering the eye to focus correctly. Soft lenses may be worn under an RGP lens to increase comfort.

Toric contacts

Contact lenses that correct astigmatism are commonly known as ‘toric’ and will have the following specifications:

  • Sphere – a +/- figure that indicates whether you are myopic or hyperopic
  • Cylinder – a measurement of how flat or irregular your cornea is shaped
  • Axis – where on the cornea your astigmatism is located

Your prescription will typically look like this:

-1.00 (Sphere) / -1.25 (Cylinder) x 90 (Axis)

Astigmatism test

We’ve created a test so that you can see through the eyes of someone with and without astigmatism, but please note that this is not a replacement for a visit to your optician and shouldn’t be used as a diagnosis tool.