Astigmatism is a condition where the optical power of the eye varies depending on the angle of light passing through it. Astigmatism produces blurred vision at all distances.
It is usually due to the shape of the cornea (the front surface of the eye). If the curvature of the cornea is not the same in all directions (like the side of an Australian football) it will bend the light passing through it by different amounts depending on the direction of the light, producing astigmatism. Images may appear distorted, or sometimes doubled. Certain letters may be more difficult to read than others.
Even small amounts of astigmatism can cause problems, such as headaches, fatigue and reduced concentration. This is because the eyes may try, without success, to correct the blur, and because there is a tendency to screw up the eyes to try to see better, producing discomfort in the muscles of the eyelid and face.
If you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is advised that you have your eyes examined. Spectacles and contact lenses are used to correct astigmatism. Sometimes correction of astigmatism can cause change in the apparent size and shape of objects and may affect judgement of distance. A patient may feel taller or shorter, or walls may appear to slope and floors curve. These changes usually only take a week or so to adjust to.
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