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Astigmatism: Care Instructions

Anatomy of the eye

Your Care Instructions

Astigmatism is a common eye problem that causes blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain.

If you have an astigmatism, the clear outer covering of your eye (cornea, or lens) is more oval-shaped than round. Your cornea directs light rays into your eye. Then it focuses the light rays on the retina at the back of the eye. If the surface of the cornea has an oval shape, light rays may not focus on the retina as they should.

Eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery can correct this problem. Contact lenses for astigmatism are called toric lenses. Some may need to be custom-made. They may cost more than ordinary contact lenses.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Reduce eye strain

  • Use good light for reading, work, or study. Use a soft background light plus a light on your task.
  • Choose large-print books. Adjust the print size on your computer and online when possible.
  • Take frequent breaks when you do close work that can be hard on your eyes. Blink often. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds (the "20-20-20" rule). Close and rest your eyes when they feel tired or dry.
  • Avoid glare on TV and computer screens. Place your TV or computer screen where lights do not reflect on the screen. Some people find it easier to work on a computer in a dimly lit room. Special non-glare screens that fit over the computer screen also may help.

Keep your eyes healthy

  • Have eye examinations as often as your doctor recommends.
  • Wear sunglasses to block harmful sunlight. Buy sunglasses that screen out ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your vision suddenly gets worse.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not see as well as you think you should after you started wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • You have problems wearing your contact lenses.
  • You need help adjusting to reduced vision.
  • Your vision is slowly getting worse.
  • Your child or teenager complains of having blurry vision.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.