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What is astigmatism?

When you imagine a ‘perfect’ eye most people would think of a spherical front surface, like the side of a football. If the football-shaped eye is myopic or hyperopic it produces a blurred image on the retina. In the astigmatic eye, the cornea is shaped more like a rugby ball and a distorted image is formed on the retina. This is astigmatism and is very common. About 75% of the population have some degree of astigmatism and even small amounts can give rise to headaches or visual discomfort, especially when critical vision is required. In particular, growing children, students, office workers, drivers and those in visually demanding activities may benefit from correcting astigmatism. The effect of uncorrected astigmatism is to distort and blur the objects you are trying to see which, in turn, can lead to headaches and fatigue. In very young children it can result in a lazy eye (amblyopia) developing. Spectacles, contact lenses and surgery can all correct astigmatism.

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