Astigmatism is a condition that results in blurred, unfocused, or fuzzy vision. The cornea (the front surface of the eye) or lens (located behind the cornea) has an abnormal or irregular curve.
There are two common types of astigmatism:
Normal Anatomy of the Eye
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Factors that may increase your chance of astigmatism include:
Some people with astigmatism may have no symptoms. In those that have symptoms, astigmatism may cause:
Symptoms vary depending on the extent of the astigmatism.
Your eye doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. An examination of your eyes will be done.
Tests to evaluate your eyes may include:
Treatment options may include the following:
Corrective lenses, such as glasses or toric contact lens, are prescribed to offset the eye’s visual abnormalities or defects.
To correct severe astigmatism, your eye surgeon might use special knives or a laser beam to correct the abnormal or irregular curve of the cornea.
There are three types of surgical procedures that an eye surgeon might perform:
There are no current guidelines to prevent astigmatism. See your eye doctor for regular check-ups.
Eye Smart—American Ophthalmology
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Condon PI, Mulhern M, et al. Laser intrastromal keratomileusis for high myopia and myopic astigmatism. Br J Ophthalmol. 1997;81(3):199-206.
Goss DA. Refractive error changes in mixed astigmatism. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 1999;19(5):438-40.
Holladay JT, Moran JR, et al. Analysis of aggregate surgically induced refractive change, prediction error, and intraocular astigmatism. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2001;27(1):61-79.
Komaroff AL, ed. Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster; 1999:423-425.
Kymionis GD, Aslanides M, et al. Laser in situ keratomileusis for residual hyperopic astigmatism after conductive keratoplasty. J Refract Surg. 2004;20(3):276-278.
Miller JM, Dobson V, et al. Comparison of preschool vision screening methods in a population with a high prevalence of astigmatism. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2001;42(5):917-924.
Pesudovs K. Autorefraction as an outcome measure of laser in situ keratomileusis. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2004;30(9):1921-1928.
Taneri S, Feit R, et al. Safety, efficacy, and stability indices of LASEK correction in moderate myopia and astigmatism. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2004;30(10):2130-2137.
Tobaigy FM, Ghanem RC, et al. A Control-matched comparison of laser epithelial keratomileusis and laser in situ keratomileusis for low to moderate myopia. Am J Ophthalmol. 2006;142(6):901-908.
Varley GA, Huang D, Rapuano CJ, et al. LASIK for hyperopia, hyperopic astigmatism, and mixed astigmatism: a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology. 2004;111(8):1604-1617.
Last reviewed October 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/30/2013