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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.

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9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Tuesday:

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Wednesday:

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Thursday:

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Friday:

9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Saturday:

Closed

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Testimonials

  • "We use Toluca Lake Optometric Center for all of our family’s vision needs. Recently, we had to have our youngest fitted for new glasses and he made the experience fun for her and informative for us. We know Dr. Ferrucci will always take good care of our family’s eye care and that’s why we wouldn’t go to anywhere else."
    The Harrison Family
  • "I was having headaches and felt my contacts were easily drying out all the time. I went in to see Dr. Ferrucci and after an evaluation, he suggested a switch in the type of lenses I use. Within a week of using the new lenses, I noticed a change and haven’t had any problems since. Thanks, Dr. Ferrucci!"
    Matt
  • "I had considered Lasik surgery in the past, but was still hesitant about the process. Dr. Ferrucci was very thorough in his consultation with me and answered all of my questions, making me feel comfortable with going forward with the procedure. I’m so glad I did the Lasik, it has been of great convenience to me and my sight has never been better."
    Carol
  • "I’ve been going to Dr. Ferrucci for over five years now and even though I only see him once a year for my annual exam, he and his staff always make me feel very welcome and take care of all my eye care needs. Toluca Lake Optometric Center is the best at what they do and make you feel right at home."
    Anthony
  • "Dr. Ferrucci and his staff are so patient and friendly. Dr. Ferrucci prescribed me glasses and I had the toughest time picking out frames. They didn’t rush, but instead made helpful suggestions and now I have an awesome pair of frames, not to mention the fact that I can see ten times better than before. You guys are the best!"
    Shelly