Astigmatism is a defect in the shape of your eye’s lens or cornea, which is the transparent dome that sits atop your iris and pupil. In healthy eyes, both your cornea and lens possess a smooth and equal curvature, like a ping pong ball. This condition, which fosters normal eyesight, is referred to as astigmatism.
By contrast, a distorted astigmatic eye resembles an egg. Eyes with astigmatism twist and bend light coming through it towards the light-sensitive tissue in the back of your eye called the retina. This uneven distribution of light results in refractive errors, causing poor eyesight.
If you are having any abnormal visual symptoms, you should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by a physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as it may be a symptom or sign of a serious illness or condition.
Astigmatism can be present at birth or develop over a long period of time. While astigmatism leads to overall poor eyesight both at a distance and up close, nearsightedness (myopia) is a condition where your eye’s lens or the cornea has become elongated. This condition focuses the light in front of your retina. Farsightedness (hyperopia) is the opposite condition, where your eye or cornea has become shortened and thus the light is focused past your retina. Both myopia and hyperopia are correctable with eyeglasses.
When the defect resides in the cornea, it is called corneal astigmatism. Lenticular astigmatism refers to the lens. In either case, your vision becomes blurred and warped in a manner similar to an individual wearing the wrong prescription eyeglasses. These conditions can exist independently or concurrently.