Don’t be alarmed when you hear this fancy word, it is a very common eye problem. Astigmatism causes your vision to be out of focus. Depending on the severity, it can result in very minimal distortion or be much worse.

Astigmatism is caused when the front surface of your eye has an abnormal curvature. Instead of being perfectly round, it is slightly curved to be more like a rugby ball shape. This means that as light enters the eye it becomes scattered, resulting in blurred vision.

People with astigmatism often have difficulty differentiating between similar characters such as Q and O or B and 8. Poor night vision is also common in those with astigmatism.

As a side effect of astigmatism, you may get headaches, eyestrain and fatigue if your vision isn’t corrected.

Astigmatism is diagnosed by an optometrist. When you visit Shannon at Outlook Eye Centre she will do a variety of tests to look for astigmatism, as well as a number of other eye problems. She will look into the back of your eyes and ask you to read from charts, among other things.

Fortunately, astigmatism is in most cases very easily fixed using corrective lenses. In the past, those with astigmatism weren’t able to wear contact lenses due to the irregular shape of their eyes, however there are now many contact lens options to correct astigmatism. This means you have a huge range of glasses and contact lenses to choose from to make your vision clearer.

Astigmatism is not an eye disease and any changes are generally gradual and not necessarily for the worse.