The doctors at Ford Eye Center in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, have years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of astigmatism. Astigmatism is an irregularity in the shape of the eye making it difficult to focus on an object, especially when at a distance. Astigmatism isn't serious and can be treated easily.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Astigmatism?

Many patients have astigmatism without signs and symptoms. Those who experience symptoms related to this refractive error usually notice blurred vision, headaches, eye strain, or a combination of these symptoms. Like other refractive errors, astigmatism can affect just 1 or both eyes, and the degree of variation can be different from 1 eye to the next.

What Causes Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a simple refractive error just like nearsightedness or farsightedness. In patients with astigmatism, the lens of the eye (called the cornea) has a minor fault in shape or positioning which creates multiple focus points. This abnormal curvature can be caused by injury to the eye or genetic factors.

How Do Eye Doctors Diagnose Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is diagnosed using 1 or both of the following tests:

  • Keratometer or ophthalmometer, which measures corneal curvature
  • Corneal topography, which uses imaging to map the surface of the cornea and helps identify irregularities

Patients are examined through the keratometer as a normal part of their annual comprehensive eye exam, so astigmatism is easily identified even if the patient isn't having symptoms.

What Treatment is Available?

Astigmatism, like other refractive errors, is corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or LASIK surgery. Patients who have astigmatism in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness can correct both indications with a single eyeglass or contact lens prescription.

Treatment isn't always necessary for astigmatism. Asymptomatic patients with slight astigmatism and no

other refractive errors often elect not to correct their astigmatism according to their doctor’s recommendations. In most cases, correction who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct another issue and patients who are symptomatic

What is Irregular Astigmatism and Is It Treated Any Differently?

Patients diagnosed with irregular astigmatism experience double vision and bright starbursts of light disrupting their vision. Irregular astigmatism can be caused by corneal injury or refractive surgery if the lens isn’t placed correctly. Unlike regular astigmatism, irregular astigmatism isn't easily treated with simple solutions like eyeglasses. Irregular astigmatism is most often treated with custom RGP lenses for hard-to-fit eyes.