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You Might Have Astigmatism and Not Know It! Here Are the Signs

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 05, 2022

You Might Have Astigmatism and Not Know It! Here Are the Signs

Did you know that astigmatism is a very common eye condition? Reports say 1 in 3 people may have some degree of astigmatism. As such, it’s possible that you have it, too, and are just not aware of it. In this article, we’ll talk about the signs of astigmatism and the methods of treatment. 

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error, the most common type of visual problem. 

When you have any kind of refractive error, it means you have difficulty seeing things clearly because light doesn’t focus correctly on the retina. Nearsightedness and farsightedness are also examples of refractive errors. 

In the case of astigmatism, there’s an issue with the curvature of either the cornea (transparent surface of the eyes) or the lens. 

Think of the eyes as an evenly round basketball. When you have astigmatism, the shape of the cornea or lens (or both) is more of an egg or a football. Due to this atypical curvature, light is not evenly distributed, causing blurry vision at all distances. 

What Are the Signs of Astigmatism?

Now that you have a better understanding of what happens when you have refractive errors, let’s discuss the signs of astigmatism. 

You might have astigmatism if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

1. Blurring of Vision

If you have astigmatism, you might develop blurred vision. This blurring of vision occurs at all distances, but might vary depending on the directions in the image. 

For example, horizontal lines may appear clearer but vertical lines seem out of focus.

signs of astigmatism

2. Eye Strain and Headaches

It may be hard to associate eye strain and headaches with astigmatism right away. After all, headaches are common and eyestrain may occur whenever you overuse your eyes. 

Still, if you experience them regularly along with blurry vision, it might be time to visit the ophthalmologist. 

3. Squinting To See Things Clearly

One of the signs of astigmatism is squinting to see things clearly. As you may not be aware that you’re doing it, consider being more mindful of the way you look at things. 

Important: Having these signs and symptoms doesn’t automatically mean you have astigmatism. You should visit an ophthalmologist for a proper diagnosis. 

What To Expect Upon Visiting the Doctor

You may have noticed that you have the signs of astigmatism and have also decided to visit an ophthalmologist. What can you expect?

Firstly, expect the typical visual acuity test where they ask you to look at numbers, letters, and images at certain distances. Afterward, the doctor might ask you to undergo several more tests and use a few other instruments, which might include a:

  • Keratometer to determine the shape (curvature) of your cornea 
  • Corneal topography, which makes a contour map of the cornea — useful for contact lenses
  • Phoropter, which uses a series of lenses to check which provides the clearest vision

With these tests, the doctor can “measure” your astigmatism and prescribe corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses. Of course, surgery, such as LASIK, can also be recommended. 

What You Can Do For Now

You must visit an ophthalmologist if you have signs of astigmatism. In the meantime, here are some home care tips for you:

  • Make sure the area where you read is well lit. 
  • When reading on digital devices, adjust the font size so it’s bigger. 
  • Take frequent breaks. Remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid glare. 

Lastly, it would help to be more mindful of your vision. Check for changes in your sight or if your vision gets better or worse over time. 

Key Takeaways

The signs of astigmatism are blurry vision, eye strain, headaches, and squinting to see clearly. For diagnosis and treatment, consult an ophthalmologist. They might recommend corrective eye glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. 

Learn more about Eye Health here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Dexter Macalintal, MD

Internal or General Medicine

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Aug 05, 2022

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