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Astigmatism or a stigmatism? Let’s clear this up

You’ve likely heard of this term when it comes to eye health, but perhaps its meaning is a bit fuzzy.

First things first, let’s clear up confusion about the word itself: it’s astigmatism (not a stigmatism, as some folks mispronounce). Astigmatism is blurry and distorted vision caused by a curvature of the eye, specifically the lens or cornea. Think of a normal eye being shaped like a basketball, and an eye with astigmatism being shaped more like an American football.

You can have astigmatism with or without the need for corrective lenses, as astigmatism is a separate condition from near or farsightedness. It tends to run in families, so watch your children for eye strain, headaches and squinting. Don’t skip regular eye exams with an optometrist, as astigmatism can’t

be diagnosed in simple eye chart screenings.

In our exams we ask you to look at letters through various lenses and choose which is better, one or two? That’s how we determine the location and measurement of astigmatism, as well as how to correct it with prescription glasses, contact lenses or possibly surgery.


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Carli Lancaster, OD

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Lebanon (541) 451-5808

Lincoln City (541) 614-0946

Salem (971) 377-2703


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