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What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common and treatable eye condition which causes irregular focus.

Usually, the front surface of an eye is rounded like a football but in an eye with astigmatism, this is shaped like an oval rugby ball. This changes the path of light into the eye, so that the image formed at the back of the eye is not sharply focused.

Alongside astigmatism, vision issues such as short or long sightedness are also common.

Astigmatism typically develops in early childhood or in your teens. Most people have a small degree of astigmatism. If high astigmatism develops in early childhood it can cause a lazy eye. Vision checks performed in children starting reception year at school are designed to pick up issues including short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.

What causes astigmatism?

Exact astigmatism causes are unknown, although genetics can play a part. Sometimes astigmatism can develop after an eye injury, surgery or due to an eye disease. Watching television, using a computer or mobile device regularly or reading in bad light does not cause astigmatism.
Many people with a small degree of astigmatism have excellent eye sight. Those with more severe astigmatism though may experience various astigmatism symptoms. These can include;

If discomfort or eyesight astigmatism symptoms are having an impact on your enjoyment or ability to perform day-to-day activities, then it is recommended you consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They will be able to assess whether you have astigmatism, determine its severity and advise you on your further treatment options.

What are astigmatism symptoms?

  • Blurring and distortion of near or far-away objects
  • Headaches when trying to focus
  • Tired eyes

How can I confirm if I have astigmatism?

Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your eye to check whether you have an astigmatism. There are several tests that they may use, including a visual acuity assessment test where you will be asked to read from a chart of letters at a certain distance.

A refraction test uses different corrective lenses at varying strengths so your optometrist or ophthalmologist can find a lens prescription that is best for your vision needs. Another diagnosis instrument that may be used is a keratometer, which allows the doctor to measure your cornea’s curvature.

How to correct astigmatism

Astigmatism correction is usually quite straightforward. You may be provided with prescription glasses or contact lenses for your astigmatism. These options may be available for free or at a discounted rate through the NHS. A contact lens astigmatism prescription may be the preferred option for more active individuals, although it is crucial that you practise good contact lens hygiene.

Some people may choose a more permanent astigmatism treatment by undergoing a safe astigmatism surgery procedure. LASIK laser eye surgery for astigmatism and ICL implantation are both available through Moorfields Private.

Reasons to choose Moorfields Private for your astigmatism treatment

When you choose Moorfields Private for astigmatism treatment, you can rest assured that you will receive the highest quality treatment and care. Moorfields Private has a worldwide reputation, with all of our surgeons holding accredited consultant positions at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, working at the very top of their profession.

Above all, we pride ourselves on offering a service with complete continuity. At each visit, you will see the surgeon of your choice who will supervise every aspect of your care from start to finish. To make an appointment with one of our consultants please call our New Patients Team on Freephone: 0800 3283 421 or Email: moorfieldsprivate.enquiries@nhs.net

Further Information

If you’re interested in learning more, please visit our recommended blog posts;

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Astigmatism consultants

A picture of Professor Bruce Allan

Professor Bruce Allan

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Su-yin Koay

Miss Su-yin Koay

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Professor David Gartry

Professor David Gartry

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Rajesh Deshmukh

Mr Rajesh Deshmukh

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Daniel Gore

Mr Daniel Gore

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Alexander Ionides

Mr Alexander Ionides

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Alfonso Vasquez-Perez

Mr Alfonso Vasquez-Perez

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Martin Watson

Mr Martin Watson

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Vincenzo Maurino

Mr Vincenzo Maurino

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Sharmina  Khan

Miss Sharmina Khan

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr Kamran Saha

Mr Kamran Saha

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Miss Linda Ficker

Miss Linda Ficker

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

A picture of Mr George Voyatzis

Mr George Voyatzis

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon


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Paying for treatment

Private Medical Insurance

If you are covered by private medical insurance, please verify the details with your insurer prior to arrival and if possible, obtain a pre-authorisation number.

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Self pay

You don’t have to be insured to come to Moorfields Private. Many of our patients pay for their own treatment.

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Interest free payment plans

We offer payment plans via a 3rd party provider for the majority of cases within the following procedures:

You are able to apply for interest free payment plans for over up to ten months, subject to a credit check and Terms and Conditions. No deposit is required.

For more information please speak to your consultant’s practice manager prior to your consultation.

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Third party sponsorship

​If a company, employer or other third party agrees to settle your account, they will be required to provide a letter of guarantee along with a deposit.

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