Astigmatism2019-08-15T15:50:50+00:00

Astigmatism

Blurry and distorted vision leading to eyestrain, headaches, squinting and eye discomfort
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What is astigmatism?

When your eye is shaped like an egg instead of a round ball
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Who gets astigmatism?

Astigmatism is the most common refractive error – almost everyone has a little astigmatism

YOUR VISION IS BLURRED AND DISTORTED

If you have astigmatism, your glasses prescription will have a unit of cylinder (often noted as C or CYL) that is typically expressed as a positive or negative number. This means the degree of astigmatism you have, expressing how much you experience blurry and distorted vision. Your prescription will also have an axis (expressed as a multiplier) which reveals the orientation of astigmatism.

YOU MIGHT FEEL HEADACHES, SQUINTING AND EYE DISCOMFORT

Uncorrected, your astigmatism can be bothersome. Fortunately, glasses and contact lenses can correct astigmatism. Unfortunately, you may dislike the way your glasses look or feel, and you may be worried about the high risk of contact lens infection after prolonged use.

HOW GLASSES AND CONTACT LENSES CAN IMPACT YOUR DAILY LIFE

In glasses, rain can be a struggle. Your glasses may fog up, get loose and fall down your nose. Needing to constantly clean them is a regular hassle. Falling asleep in them can cause them to break. Not being able to wear sunglasses can be a real bother. When it comes to contact lenses, they can cause dryness, computer vision syndrome, serious eye infections, and grittiness and irritation if you wear them too long.

GLASSES CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK

You might have heard people say you look better without glasses or even tell you that you should get contact lenses. You might feel they detract from or hide your facial features. They might make your eyes look unnaturally large or small.

IF GLASSES OR CONTACT LENSES ARE THE ENEMY

Help is at hand! With modern laser eye surgery and lens replacement, we’ve been able to treat all sorts of eye problems, including astigmatism, for decades. Futhermore, we have excellent results proving its safety and effectiveness.

Vision correction enables you to experience a richer life without spectacles or contacts

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My patients love their lives after vision correction

“Mr Shortt was very patient and kind with me while I had a little bit of a freak out directly before surgery. He quickly put me at ease and reassured me that nothing would be done until I was 100% ok with it. I cannot recommend Mr Shortt and his team highly enough, patient, caring and very professional.”

Nicki O.

“Quite simply the best medical experience I’ve had. Mr Shortt’s knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail was faultless and the aftercare absolutely Impeccable.”

DC

“I cannot recommend Mr Shortt highly enough. Very organised and gets back to you quickly with any questions you have. Is very thorough in his explanations and makes you feel at ease before surgery. Surgery was quick and the results were brilliant. Aftercare was top notch as well.”

Ross G.

“I had LASIK done 2 weeks ago and it was the best decision ever! The procedure was very quick, painless and the result was instant. Dr Alex Shortt was very competent and easy to talk to. He’s calm, knowledgeable and a charming person.”

Natasha, LASIK

“Mr Alex Shortt successfully performed Lens Replacement Surgery on both my eyes on the 13th October 2017. The care that I have received from Alex and his team through out the process has been amazing. Choosing Mr Shortt as my surgeon was one of the best decisions that I have made. I would very highly recommend Mr Shortt. l will always be grateful to Alex for the amazing care and results I’ve received – thank you!”

Roma A., Lens replacement

“Excellent care by a first class consultant. Would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Alex Shortt. Puts you at ease, explains every aspect of the treatment he is going to adminster and his care and professionalism are excellent. He is simply the best.”

Lorraine B.

“Don’t want to write a load of waffle so people get bored. All I can say is if you are thinking of having eye surgery go and speak to Mr Shortt. You won’t be disappointed. We need more surgeons of his high standard in the UK.”

Andy D.

“Mr Alex Shortt’s manner and brilliant skills are of the highest professional and caring standard one could ever expect to receive. I am now living in a bright new world no longer needing spectacles after wearing bifocal lenses for the past 24 years.”

Laura D
“I can honestly say the care I’ve received has been outstanding. Nothing has ever been too much trouble, he has taken the time to explain everything in detail, and has gone above and beyond on multiple occasions to ensure I get everything I need. He has always treated me respectfully and ensured we have made decisions together. I’ll always be grateful to Alex for the amazing care I’ve received.”
Wilson

“During the procedure Dr Shortt explained what he was doing every step of the way. This really made me feel at ease and reassured throughout. He made the whole procedure very simple.”

Lina

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Supplementary information about Astigmatism

In my expert hands, you certainly don’t need to know all of the information I’ve included in the toggles below. If you’d like to know how it all works, however, open them and learn more.

Astigmatism is an imperfection in the shape of your eye’s cornea or lens. Usually, the cornea and lens are round or spherical like a football. In eyes that have astigmatism, the cornea and or lens of the eye are oval in shape like an egg. As a result, light rays focus on a blurred oval shape on the retina rather than as a single sharp image.

Glasses and toric contact lenses can simulate the elongation of the cornea and lens either horizontally or vertically.

Often, people will have a combination of either short-sightedness and astigmatism or long-sightedness and astigmatism. Therefore, glasses will have a positive lens to correct the long-sightedness, combined with a toric lens to correct astigmatism. In cases of short-sightedness, glasses will have a negative power lens to compensate for the short-sightedness and a toric lens to correct astigmatism.

Astigmatism is where the corneal and/or lens of the eye, rather than being completely round shaped, is actually slightly oval shaped and elongated and that can either be elongated horizontally or vertically.

Just like many of us slightly asymmetrical faces and other bodily features, so too does cornea and lens sometimes have irregularities. In the case of eyes, these differences in symmetry and shape result in visual distortion.

Astigmatism symptoms and lifestyle impacts

Astigmatism causes elongation and distortion of the image of the world. It affects both distance and close up vision. Astigmatism is particularly problematic at night when you will notice glare and distortion from lights.

Astigmatism examination in London

Essential components of an examination are

  • refraction (spectacle test),
  • ocular examination and
  • a dilated fundus examination to check the health of the eye and retina
  • PentacamⓇ scan

I, or a member of my highly-trained team, can precisely measure the amount of corneal astigmatism with a sophisticated scanner called a PentacamⓇ.

You can temporarily correct astigmatism with glasses and contact lenses. I can permanently correct astigmatism with laser eye surgery and implantable contact lenses (ICL).

In older patients, lens replacement or refractive lens exchange and multifocal lens implants may be our treatment of choice, especially after 50 years of age.

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Even more information about astigmatism

I frequently write articles and publish videos to answer people’s most common questions and keep them updated on the latest developments in vision correction. Find out more below…

Compare astigmatism with other relevant eye conditions

Eye conditions are frequently misunderstood, so here’s a quick overview of the ones I most commonly treat

SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS

Short-sightedness is also known as Myopia.

Short-sightedness (or myopia) is an eye condition where the focusing power of the eye is too strong. For that reason, if you’re short-sighted, you need to wear negative power lenses to reduce the focusing power of the eye. Doing so brings the image of the world into focus on our retina. Learn more about short-sightedness

Treatments for short-sightedness

LONG-SIGHTEDNESS

Long-sightedness is also known as Hyperopia or Hypermetropia.

Hyperopia or long-sightedness is an eye condition where the focusing power of the eye is too weak. For that reason, if you have long-sightedness, you need to wear positive power lenses to increase the focusing power of the eye and bring the image of the world into focus on our retina. Learn more about long-sightedness

Treatments for long-sightedness

DRY EYE

The term “dry eye” covers many different eye conditions where an imbalance in the volume or quality of the tears results in inflammation and damage to the surface of the eye. Patients have varying degrees of dry eye symptoms from occasional discomfort and stinging to severe pain and inability to see. Learn more about dry eye…

PRESBYOPIA

Presbyopia is the eye condition which causes people aged 45 and older to need reading glasses. The ageing of the eye’s natural lens which stiffens and loses its ability to focus causes presbyopia.

Treatments for presbyopia

CATARACT

Cataract is the term we use to describe the changes that occur when the lens of the eye loses its transparency and changes from appearing like a crystal clear window to appearing like a misted window like frosted glass. Learn more about cataract

Treatments for cataract

KERATOCONUS

Keratoconus is a condition where the cornea, the front window of the eye, becomes thinner, loses its strength and begins to warp out of shape progressively. Learn more about keratoconus

Treatments for keratoconus

RECURRENT CORNEAL EROSION

Recurrent corneal erosion is a painful eye condition where there are episodes of severe pain on waking which resolve over a few days to a week only to reoccur again in the future. Learn more about recurrent corneal erosion

Treatments for recurrent corneal erosion

  • Laser Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK)

Affiliations and memberships

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About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including stem cell cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.

Learn more about me