Q: I have astigmatism. Is that bad? What is it?
A: I am not sure where or when, but somewhere down the line, astigmatism (not a stigmatism) got a bad rap. Much like nearsightedness (myopia: unable to see clearly far away) or farsightedness (hyperopia: unable to see clearly up close), astigmatism refers to the shape of your eyes and type of prescription you have. You can be nearsighted or farsighted and have astigmatism.
Believe it or not, most people have a slight astigmatism. This merely means your eye (specifically the cornea – the clear part that a contact lens sits on) is not spherical. Instead of being like a basketball cut in half, it is more oval-like, similar to a football in shape. If you have it, a common indicator is ghost images or shadows on whatever you are looking at.
If you are told you have astigmatism, do not worry! Just like any other prescription, glasses or contacts can be used to give you 20/20 vision!
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