Astigmatism is a common visual distortion caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. In patients with astigmatism, the surface of the cornea is oblong shaped like a football, instead of round like a basketball. Light rays passing through an oblong cornea bend unequally, causing two focusing points. Consequently, vision is blurred at most distances.
Over time this condition may increase slowly, but, generally, over a lifetime, it remains relatively stable. Forty-five percent of people who require vision correction have some degree of astigmatism. Symptoms include squinting, occasional headaches, and eye strain. In most cases, astigmatism is accompanied by nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Toric contact lenses are used to correct astimatism. With today's newer contact lens options, virtually anybody with astigmatism can wear contacts successfully.