Print this topic

HealthInfo Canterbury

Treating astigmatism

Treatment for astigmatism adjusts your focus precisely onto your retina, so you can see sharp images instead of fuzzy ones.

Corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses) change the way light focuses into your eye, and refractive surgery (laser surgery) reshapes the surface of your eye so light focuses onto the retina.


Prescription glasses can correct both corneal astigmatism (when your cornea is an irregular shape) and lenticular astigmatism (when the lens inside your eye is tilted). Depending on how serious your astigmatism is, you may need to wear them all the time, or you may need to wear them only when you are concentrating on a specific task.

It can take a while to get used to glasses for astigmatism, because as well as making your vision sharper, the glasses may slightly distort your vision for a few days. For example, a round plate might look oval or a flat table might seem bowed. Most people quickly get used to this, but some people need to have their prescription changed slightly. Your optometrist will talk with you about this when deciding which treatment option suits you best.

Contact lenses

There are many different types of contact lenses available, in both hard (rigid, gas permeable) and soft (usually disposable) materials. They include options for extended-wear prescriptions. Ask your optometrist which ones will be best for you.

Refractive surgery

Refractive surgery can permanently reshape the surface of your eye, using methods such as LASIK, PRK, and LASEK. Ask your optometrist for more information. They can assess if you are suitable for surgery and refer you to a specialist eye surgeon if appropriate.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by Canterbury optometrists, Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Ophthalmology, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed November 2019.


Page reference: 140644

Review key: HIVIP-134077