Westmount Optometrists
585 Springbank Dr London ON N6J 1H3 (519) 472-0210
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Westmount Optometrists
140 Main Street Glencoe ON N0L 1M0 (519) 287-2548
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(226) 270-3657 (226) 798-0482

London, ON (519) 472-0210

Glencoe, ON (519) 287-2548

Like hyperopia (farsightedness) and myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism is a refractive error.

What is a “Refractive Error”?

A refractive error does not refer to an eye disease or eye health problem. A refractive error is a problem with how light is focused within the eye.

Astigmatism can be classified as regular or irregular. Regular astigmatism refers to the principal meridians being perpendicular to each other, while irregular astigmatism means the principal meridians are not.

Astigmatism causes objects both near and far to appear blurry or distorted.


Astigmatism is caused by an irregular shaped cornea. A normal eyeball is shaped like a round ball allowing it to bend light evenly. With astigmatism, the eye is shaped like the back of a spoon or a football, bending light more in one direction than the other.

Most people diagnosed with astigmatism are born with it. It is possible to develop astigmatism after an eye injury, disease, or surgery. A common belief is that you can develop astigmatism from reading in low light or sitting too closely to the TV. However, this is not true.

Signs and Symptoms of Astigmatism

Astigmatism symptoms may include:

  • Blurred objects at both a distance and/or close-up
  • Eyestrain and headaches
  • Squinting as an attempt to see clearly
  • Areas of distorted vision

Symptoms of astigmatism are commonly experienced in other refractive errors. As such, experiencing any of the symptoms above does not necessarily mean you have astigmatism. In order to be sure, a complete eye examination should be scheduled with one of our Optometrists to determine the source of your problem.

Diagnosing Astigmatism

Our Optometrists are equipped to completed a thorough eye examination to determine the source of your problem. Although your Optometrist may diagnose you with astigmatism, it is possible they may find another refractive error as well.

Regardless, after noticing any changes in your vision it is important to schedule an eye examination immediately. During an eye examination, our Optometrists will be able to discuss treatment options if necessary.

Treatment Options for Astigmatism

The majority of cases of astigmatism can be treated with corrective lenses. This means that your Optometrist will prescribe glasses and / or contact lenses – whichever suits your needs. Soft contact lenses are available to correct astigmatism. These lenses are specially designed and fitted lenses called toric lenses.

Toric soft contact lenses work best in mild cases by bending light more in one direction than the other. More severe cases may require gas-permeable rigid contact lenses. Learn more about contact lens fittings and types.

Aside from corrective lenses, refractive surgery is another treatment option. Laser refractive  surgery works by changing the shape of the cornea to correct your vision. As more than one type is available, it is important to discuss with our Optometrist which option is best for you.

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