What is Astigmatism?

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Astigmatism is a common and treatable eye disorder. People with astigmatism generally have problems seeing things that are close and/or far away. Astigmatism is a defect you are born with and does not change over time. However, sometimes it appears later and can progress, as happens in patients with keratoconus, a disease in which the cornea gradually thins and changes shape, causing astigmatism.  

Vision with Astigmatism

The anterior surface of a normal eye is round like a football, but people with astigmatism have oval, rugby-ball shaped eyes. This changes the direction of the light as it enters the eye, and the image formed at the back of the eye is not properly focused, but is instead distorted. 

How many people are affected?

The prevalence of astigmatism (1.5 dioptres or more) in Spain is around 25% of the population, which makes it the third most common vision problem after myopia and presbyopia. The figures are similar at the European level, where 23.9% of the population has this refractive error.  

Substantiated information by:

Jorge Peraza Nieves
Mireia Hereu

Published: 21 October 2020
Updated: 21 October 2020

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