If you’ve been diagnosed with astigmatism, don’t let the name scare you. Granted, the term sounds ominous—especially if you mistakenly refer to it as a “stigma…tism”. But the truth is, the condition is pretty common and it doesn’t limit your vision correction options as much as it did years ago.

What Does Astigmatism Mean?

Astigmatism refers to the shape or curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens. In a perfect world, your eye would be completely spherical and devoid of any imperfection. If you have astigmatism, the shape of the surface of your eye is probably more oblong, like the shape of a rugby ball .  This prevents light from focusing properly on your retina, causing vision to blur whether you’re trying to see objects up close or far away.

Astigmatism runs in families, can be present from birth, and can change over time.1,2  You can also develop astigmatism more suddenly in response to an eye injury or surgical procedure. Also, you can have astigmatism alongside other refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).

Do You Have to Wear Glasses with Astigmatism?

Just because your parents had to wear glasses for their astigmatism doesn’t mean you will too. In the past, vision correction options for people with astigmatism were much more limited than they are today.

Thirty years ago, if you were really committed to the idea of wearing contact lenses for astigmatism, you were most likely going to need to use hard lenses, which are now known as “rigid gas permeable lenses.” Today, there are several soft toric contact lenses in a wide range of prescriptions to fit all sorts of eyes.

A Variety of Soft Lens Options for Astigmatism

Having astigmatism no longer restricts your choices in contact lenses. Today, soft contact lenses are available for most astigmatism prescriptions. And the options don’t end there. Now, you can even get soft toric contacts for astigmatism in daily disposable, multifocal, and frequent replacement varieties.

To help figure out what type of lens best fits your lifestyle, try the CooperVision® Find a Lens tool. Or, if you want to learn more about astigmatism and how CooperVision® toric lenses can help, talk to your eye care practitioner. If you don’t have an eye care practitioner, you use our Find an optician tool.

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.

1. American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Causes Astigmatism.

2. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Physiology of Astigmatism.

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