What Do You See When You Have Astigmatism?

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man user

EyeQue Team

man user

January 3, 2018


Astigmatism is a very common eye condition that occurs when your eye has a problem focusing with light. The cornea or lens is shaped like a football, which means that light rays don’t come to a single focus at the retina. A normal cornea is curved like a basketball with the same degree of roundness everywhere. It is a common condition that affects people with near- or farsightedness.

It causes images to appear out of focus or distorted. This of it like looking into a funhouse mirror. In some cases, astigmatism affects both the cornea and lens (mixed astigmatism).


Diagram of how an eye with astigmatism processes light.
Diagram of how an astigmatic eye focuses light.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Some common signs and symptoms are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Pain in muscles around the eye
  • Difficulty with night vision

You may not notice symptoms or signs with mild astigmatism. As you get older, it can worsen.

How Do You Correct Astigmatism?

It can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. In addition to the spherical lens power, astigmatism requires an additional “cylinder” lens power to correct the difference between the powers of the two principal meridians of the eye. Meridians are like the lines of a clock but on the eye.

Astigmatism Research

A 2011 study analyzed the prevalence of astigmatism by severity in more than 11,600 eyeglass wearers who were being fitted for soft contact lenses. The prevalence of astigmatism of 0.75 diopters or greater was almost double in people with nearsightedness compared to those with farsightedness. This study provided insightful data on how many people would require special toric contact lenses for correction.

In an experimental study, uncorrected astigmatism was found to aggravate eye discomfort associated with reading text on computer screens. A study analyzing neck/shoulder discomfort related to computer use found many cases were temporary, however, some eye conditions exacerbated this discomfort. During visually demanding, cumulative computer work, researchers found astigmatism, the extent of accommodation, and concurrent internal eye discomfort symptoms (e.g. dry eye, ache or strain) all increased neck/shoulder discomfort.

A previous study on 12 youngsters with normal vision analyzed the impact of induced astigmatism on reading a computer screen. The presence of induced astigmatism produced a significant increase in post-task symptoms, however, reading rates and the number of reading errors were unaffected. Researchers concluded the correction of small astigmatic refractive errors may optimize comfort for computer users.

Testing Astigmatism at Home

Track changes in your astigmatism with EyeQue's VisionCheck.
You can track changes to your astigmatism easily and from the comfort of your own home.


Using an EyeQue at-home refraction error test, you can know test and track changes in your vision from home. The test measures astigmatism and generates EyeGlass Numbers that are the same measurements that make up a prescription used for refractive correction. Nine measurements are gathered for each eye, each one corresponding to a different angle. Once you successfully complete a series of tests, you can use your EyeGlass Numbers to order glasses online.

Try VisionCheck

Test your vision, measure your pupillary distance, and order glasses online with your results.

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