Living with astigmatism
If you have astigmatism, you're in good company. Astigmatism is a very common refractive error and is typically easily managed. Prescription glasses and contact lenses can correct your sight and let you get on with everyday life.
Laser eye surgery is an option for some people, a longer-term solution that can mean you don't have to wear glasses or lenses afterwards.
Managing your astigmatism
It's important to have regular eye tests if you have astigmatism. In some cases, you may be eligible for free eye tests through the NHS. This can help you better manage the symptoms of astigmatism and monitor your overall eye health.
Here are some benefits of having regular eye tests for astigmatism include:
- Eye tests monitor your eye health and detect a range of eye conditions, some of which don't have noticeable symptoms.
- Your optician will be able to detect any other refractive errors you may have, such as near-sightedness or long-sightedness. This will help ensure you have the correct prescription for the clearest possible vision.
- Your optician will be able to spot any changes to your prescription. This helps avoid blurry vision, headaches, and dry eye when astigmatism isn't properly corrected.
- Your optician will be able to advise you on suitable treatment options, including prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery (laser surgery).
- Children may not be able to describe any problems with their sight. An eye test will pick up any issues early so they can be treated.
- Astigmatism in infants and children can change as they grow. Some children can outgrow astigmatism as their eyes develop. Regular eye tests and an up-to-date prescription will support the normal development of their vision.
- Children with severe astigmatism can be at risk of developing amblyopia (lazy eye), which can often be avoided with the proper treatment.
Driving with astigmatism?
You should be able to drive with astigmatism. Astigmatism causes blurry vision, but it's generally corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses. So, astigmatism shouldn't stop you from driving as long as you don't have any other eye conditions that affect your eyesight.
If you have surgery to correct your astigmatism, you'll need some time afterwards to recover before driving. You'll have a follow-up appointment after surgery, at which your eye doctor will confirm when it's okay to drive again.
Nighttime driving with astigmatism
Astigmatism can cause problems with night vision, as you may experience more glare, especially from bright lights such as headlights.
Prescription lenses that correct your vision should address this problem. You can ask your optician about lenses that reduce reflections from light.
Can you work with astigmatism?
Yes, astigmatism shouldn't stop you from working. Wearing prescription glasses or contact lenses, or having surgery, can correct your eyesight and give you clear vision if you're struggling to see clearly.
If your glasses or lenses aren't up to date, you're at a greater risk of eye strain and headaches. This can make it difficult to concentrate, especially if you spend a lot of time staring at a screen.
There are sensible precautions you can take at work to look after your eyes. Take regular breaks from using the computer or digital screens. If you're working with chemicals or machinery, use protective eyewear to help prevent eye injuries.
Frequently asked questions
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The Royal College of Ophthalmologists champions excellence in the practice of ophthalmology and is the only professional membership body for medically qualified ophthalmologists. The RCOphth is unable to offer direct advice to patients. If you’re concerned about the health of your eyes, you should seek medical advice from your GP, optometrist or ophthalmologist.