Astigmatism is a very common eye condition that causes blurred vision either close up or at a distance. This is because the cornea, the clear-fronted cover of the eye, is irregularly shaped. We often explain this more easily by just saying the eye isn’t round, it’s rugby ball shaped.

Whether you are long-sighted (hyperopic) or short-sighted (myopic), you can still have some degree of astigmatism.


Slight astigmatism doesn’t usually affect vision or require correcting, however, larger amounts of astigmatism cause distorted or blurred vision, discomfort and headache. Astigmatism causes your eyes to work harder, which can make them tired.

The symptoms can vary some people get headaches, others just plain old blurred vision. Astigmatism doesn’t just affect your near or far vision, it can affect both. Astigmatism can also result in tired eyes, especially if you are concentrating on anything for a long period of time. This may be doing things that require looking up close (like working at a computer or studying) or at a distance (such as driving).


Glasses or contact lenses can be used to correct astigmatism. In some cases orthokeratology may be an alternative treatment. Vision will be clearer and more comfortable if astigmatism is corrected – even if a person sees quite well.

Your optometrist can easily identify astigmatism in a routine eye test, and will talk you through how to correct it.