What Is Astigmatism?

Image of family wearing glasses.

Astigmatism is an extremely common eye condition that affects both children and adults. It occurs when there is an imperfection in some part of your cornea, the clear tissue that covers your iris. Light rays pass through the cornea as they travel to the retina, a thin layer of cells at the back of your eye. The retina turns light rays into impulses that are transmitted to your brain, which interprets them as images.

Normally, the cornea is completely round. If you have astigmatism, some parts of your cornea may be rounder than others, which can cause a distortion in the way light rays focus on your retina. Astigmatism is considered a refractive error because it affects the way your eyes refract, or bend, light. It often occurs in conjunction with other refractive errors, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Common symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Trouble seeing clearly when driving at night
  • Squinting
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches

If you have a mild case of astigmatism, you may not notice any changes in your vision.

Diagnosing Astigmatism

Many of the symptoms of astigmatism, such as blurred vision and eyestrain, can also occur if you need glasses or you already have glasses or contacts, but your eyes have gotten worse. Luckily, astigmatism can be easily spotted during an eye examination.

During the examination, your visual acuity will be measured based on your ability to read letters or numbers on an eye chart. The focusing power of your eyes will also be determined, and an instrument called a keratometer may be used to measure the curvature of your cornea. These tests help eye care professionals determine if you have astigmatism.

Treating Astigmatism

Eyeglasses will help improve your vision if you have been diagnosed with astigmatism. Although you probably will not be able to notice any difference just by looking at your new glasses, a subtle change in your lenses will allow you to see better. Glasses improve vision in people with astigmatism because the lens power is increased in a small area of a lens to compensate for the imperfection in your cornea. Some people with astigmatism feel that contacts offer better vision than glasses, but either option will help improve your eyesight.

Reshaping the cornea can alleviate astigmatism temporarily or permanently. Special contact lenses that are worn overnight change the shape of the cornea, allowing you to see clearly during the day. However, if you stop wearing the lenses at night, your symptoms will return. Two types of laser surgery, LASIK and photoreactive keratectomy (PRK), permanently reshape the cornea but may have associated risks.

Helping you make the most of your vision is our priority. If it's been awhile since we have seen you, call us today to schedule an appointment.

Contact us to request an appointment today.

Patients with Insurance receive30% off Second pair, and BOGO 50% off

Testimonials

  • While vacationing in Orange Beach, I had something that jabbed me in the eye and punctured my cornea. I called the Orange Beach office and they got me in quickly. The staff was so friendly and helpful. Dr. Leonard explained things very well and put me at ease. Hats off...

    - Jason N. - Google Review
  • I have been going to Dr. Leonard for over 20 years. She always gives me the best honest answers &/or suggestions. I trust her to the fullest. I now take my 3 year old daughter to Dr. Leonard as well. My eye insurance isn’t accepted there anymore but I don’t...

    - Dae P. - Google Review
  • Everyone has such a warm personality that it makes you feel like a friend! Excellent service....

    - Rosaly T. - Google Review
  • I am here @ Orange beach for vacation & one of my contacts washed away in the ocean. My family and I are from Texas, so I called the very next day. I literally had a pair of contacts waiting on me in 5 minutes to be picked up. Ms....

    - Lauren G. - Google Review
  • I was very impressed by the Dr. and staff at Coastal Family Eyecare. From the moment I walked through the door I was met with professional, caring and very knowledgeable people. I highly recommend them and will be returning for all my future vision needs....

    - Maureen M. - Google Review
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Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Orange Beach Office

Monday

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tuesday

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday

Closed for Thanksgiving

Thursday

Closed for Thanksgiving

Friday

Closed for Thanksgiving

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

Pensacola Office

Monday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tuesday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday

8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Thursday

Closed for Thanksgiving

Friday

Closed for Thanksgiving

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

Orange Beach Office

Monday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday
Closed for Thanksgiving
Thursday
Closed for Thanksgiving
Friday
Closed for Thanksgiving
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed

Pensacola Office

Monday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday
8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Thursday
Closed for Thanksgiving
Friday
Closed for Thanksgiving
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed

Locations

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