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 one 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)
  • glare whilst night driving

Astigmatism normally occurs alongside short sight - Myopia or long sight - Hypermetropia.

In young children, a high astigmatism may cause lazy eye/amblyopia. It's important this is spotted early so it can be treated.  Early detection improves treatment success.


Take your child for regular eye examinations - astigmatism, as well as short sight or long sight , may affect their reading and concentration.

Find an optometrist (optician) here.

What you can do for astigmatism

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


Pros - the cheapest option; may be available free or discounted on the NHS for eligible patients

Cons - could get lost or broken.  Under 16’s are eligible for replacement pairs that have been lost, and repairs for broken spectacles under the NHS

Contact Lenses

Pros - choice of soft or hard types; preferred by active people; may be free or discounted under the NHS for eligible patients

Cons - may not be suitable for everyone; risk of eye infection through poor contact lens hygiene.  Good compliance is important.

Laser eye or lens surgery

Pros - may be permanent; may be better for people with more severe vision problems

Cons - risk of complications during or after surgery; not available on the NHS; can be expensive; some side effects.

Sometimes restrictions depending on the level of prescription


The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website
Last Updated: 16/12/2021 15:51:37