About 1 in 3 people have astigmatism. This common refractive error develops when your cornea and lens have mismatched curves, and it distorts your vision at all distances. 

In an eye without astigmatism, the cornea and lens are ball-shaped. They reflect light from your environment onto your retina, which is how you see images of the world around you. Astigmatism makes your eye football-shaped, and it interferes with the eye’s ability to focus images.

Blurry vision is the main symptom of astigmatism, but the only way to know what’s causing your vision problems is a diagnosis from an eye doctor. At Pacific Eye, our ophthalmologists and optometrists specialize in treating astigmatism to give you better vision.

You could have astigmatism if you’re bothered by …

Blurry vision

Your cornea is at the front of your eyeball. When light enters your cornea, it travels to the lens behind it. Your lens focuses light onto the retina at the back of your eye, which then transfers the signals to your brain. 

When you have astigmatism, the natural curve of your cornea and your lens are mismatched. This affects your eye’s ability to focus, and your retina receives two different images, called a refractive error. The result is blurry vision.

People with astigmatism may experience mild to severe distorted vision, depending on the degree of astigmatism. While myopia (nearsightedness) makes far-away objects blurry and hyperopia (farsightedness) makes close-up objects blurry, astigmatism makes things blurry at every distance.


Blurry vision at all distances can cause eyestrain over time. When you’re trying to use your eyes, whether you’re working at a computer or driving a car, your eyes are constantly adjusting and attempting to focus a clear image.

Because your eyes can’t achieve focus if you have an uncorrected astigmatism, eyestrain and fatigue can develop. You could have astigmatism if you experience:

  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Eyestrain can lead to other symptoms, like dizziness and headaches. You may find yourself squinting to see things more clearly, which can cause facial fatigue and headaches as well.

Difficulty seeing at night

The symptoms of astigmatism can worsen when it’s dark. In low light, your pupils dilate to let more light into your eye and help you see better. But when you have astigmatism, this makes blurry vision worse.

Your eye lets more peripheral light in, which can make lights look fuzzy and create a halo effect. Halos and glare from light can make it difficult to focus on tasks in the dark, such as driving at night. 

Astigmatism is generally diagnosed in routine eye exams. It can occur alongside nearsightedness and farsightedness, and it ranges in severity.

If you have an astigmatism, your Pacitic Eye eye doctor will determine the extent of the condition and recommend treatment options to improve your vision. Astigmatism can generally be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery

Astigmatism correction helps your eyes focus clearly. With the right glasses or contacts prescription, you can enjoy sharper vision and less eyestrain.

Do you suspect astigmatism? Is it time for your next eye exam? Schedule your appointment online or call Pacific Eye, which has seven locations in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. You can also request an appointment here on the website.