In normal, undistorted vision, the cornea of the eye is smooth and equally curved in all directions. With astigmatism, the cornea is “warped”, meaning it curves more in one direction than the other distorting or blurring vision for objects at any distance.

Large amounts of astigmatism are usually inherited, present at birth and frequently remain unchanged throughout life. Small amounts of astigmatism can be acquired any time in life and are, in fact, very common. It often does not require correction.

Correcting astigmatism is not difficult if the distortion proceeds across the cornea in a regular direction. Prescription glasses can often be used to correct or off set the distortion to the cornea.

If the distortion is irregular only reshaping the cornea will correct the problem. This is usually done through the use of hard contact lenses or by replacing it with donated human corneal tissue. While hard lenses are usually better than soft lenses for this correction, some soft lenses may help to correct mild astigmatism. Large amounts of astigmatism are not easily corrected with lenses as it may wobble on the uneven surface of the cornea. In such instances your optometrist may use toric contact lens. Toric contact lenses accommodate for the astigmatism in your eyes. These lenses however are much harder to fit into patients as there are many parameters for your optometrist to consider.