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Astigmatism? What’s that?

“Astigmatism” is not a well known term when talking about the need for glasses.

To highlight this, the question I get asked when discussing the fact I wear glasses, is: “What do you need glasses for, far or near?” i.e. long sight or short sight, otherwise known as hyperopia or myopia.

My response: “Actually I have astigmatism”

Blank look, and then: “A stigma?”

And so begins the explanation…

Astigmatism is very common but is neither long nor short sight. In layman’s terms it is when the eye is a rugby ball shape rather than a football shape, and is the third major player in the trilogy of glasses prescriptions.

In significant amounts, it means that everything you look at, whether far or near, appears blurry. So it stands to reason that glasses may be required most of the time.

A lot of parents, when I tell them their child needs glasses all the time, cannot understand why, when they are neither long nor short sighted.

The research article below, goes some way to explaining the importance of wearing glasses if you have astigmatism.

https://www.aop.org.uk/ot/science-and-vision/research/2016/02/04/wearing-spectacles-improves-reading-ability-in-children-with-astigmatism

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