Astigmatism, along with short sight and long sight, is a common cause of blurry vision. It's usually corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism means your eye is shaped more like a rugby ball than a football, so light is focused at more than 1 place in the eye.

This can cause:

  • blurred vision
  • headaches
  • eye strain (you may notice this after concentrating for a long time – on a computer, for example)

Astigmatism normally occurs alongside short-sightedness  or long- sightedness.

Astigmatism in 1 eye may cause lazy eye (where the vision does not develop properly). It's important this is spotted early so it can be treated.

Regular eye tests for children

Take your child for regular eye tests. Astigmatism, as well as short- sightedness or long-sightedness, may affect their reading and concentration.

Find an optician

Treatments for astigmatism

If astigmatism is affecting your eyesight, there are ways to correct it:



  • the cheapest option
  • may be available free or discounted on the NHS 


  • could get lost or broken.  

Contact Lenses


  • choice of soft or hard types
  • can be a good choice if you're active people
  • may be free or discounted on the NHS


  • may not be suitable for everyone
  • risk of eye infection through poor contact lens hygiene  

Laser eye or lens surgery


  • may be permanent
  • may be better for people with more severe vision problems


  • risk of complications during or after surgery
  • not available on the NHS
  • can be expensive
  • some side effects

The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website
Last Updated: 06/12/2023 12:10:27