What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a relatively common condition in which an abnormally shaped cornea or a curvature of the lens causes problems with the ability to focus. Astigmatism is one of several conditions called refractive errors because it involves the eye’s inability to refract light properly. The other refractive errors, which can occur together with astigmatism, are nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). Astigmatism is usually present at birth.


  • Problems with focusing and seeing finer details
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches


A standard eye exam is usually all that is needed to diagnose astigmatism. In younger children who cannot answer questions about their vision a test called retinoscopy can be used.


  • Glasses or hard contact lenses that can help reshape the curved cornea
  • Laser surgery, depending on the individual case

When to Call for Help

If your child experiences any of the above symptoms, consult an ophthalmologist.

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