Updated on  December 26, 2022
5 min read

Astigmatism Glasses

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Overview: What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs when your eye has a slightly irregular curvature. Your eye can't focus light properly on the retina, which results in blurry vision far away and up close.

Astigmatism is a common condition corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery. Research shows that a genetic component could be involved in this condition and other eye health issues. Astigmatism may develop in infancy or later on in life. 

diagram showing eye with normal vision vs astigmatism

People with mild astigmatism may not have any symptoms. If astigmatism worsens, you may notice vision problems such as:

  • Blurry vision (distance or near)
  • Glare or halos around lights
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Decreased night vision
  • Shadows or ghosting of images
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain and fatigue (particularly while viewing digital devices)
  • Squinting

Where to Buy Glasses + Contacts

Best Overall: Warby Parker

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Also Great: Liingo

Best Place to Buy Contacts: 1800 Contacts

Do You Need Glasses for Astigmatism?

Some people with mild astigmatism don't need correction. However, astigmatism is commonly accompanied by other refractive eye conditions like nearsightedness and farsightedness. These conditions require glasses.

You will need glasses to correct astigmatism if it's affecting your sight. This often happens with some cases of mild astigmatism or moderate to extreme astigmatism.

Glasses for astigmatism have cylindrical lenses that properly refract light to the retina. They're customized to correct astigmatism in both eyes, which aren't always the same.

When To Get Glasses for Astigmatism

Consult your eye doctor if you struggle with daily activities, including:

  • Driving
  • Reading
  • Doing computer work

Symptoms that indicate the need for astigmatism correction include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Eye strain
  • Reduced night vision 

Other signs you may need glasses include: 

  • Double vision
  • Needing more light to read
  • Losing your place while reading
  • Distortion in your vision
  • Halos when driving at night

The eye doctor can examine your eyes to ensure you do not have serious eye conditions that may cause similar symptoms.

Best Types of Glasses for Astigmatism

There are different types of materials used for your corrective lenses. From thickest to thinnest, they are:

Choosing the right lens type for vision correction depends on the degree of astigmatism. The higher your prescription, the thinner the lens you should choose.

Thinner lenses also tend to be lighter, although Trivex material is lighter than high-index plastic.

Read more about the different types of lenses available at Warby Parker.

Best Lens Material for Each Astigmatism Level

When your eye doctor writes your eyeglass prescription, you will notice a number under the cylinder (CYL) section. This number is measured in diopters (D) and indicates your astigmatism level.

Each level of astigmatism is suited to different types of lens materials. These are:

  • Mild astigmatism (1.00 D or less) is suited to CR-39 plastic lenses
  • Moderate astigmatism (1.00 to 2.00 D) is suited to polycarbonate or Trivex lenses
  • Severe astigmatism (2.00 to 4.00 D) is suited to polycarbonate, Trivex, or high-index lenses
  • Extreme astigmatism (4.00 D and above) is suited to high-index

Tips for Choosing Astigmatism Eyewear

Here are other tips for choosing eyewear for astigmatism:

  • Anti-reflective coating helps to reduce glare off the surface of lenses
  • A flat frame is easier to adjust to for higher astigmatism corrections compared to glasses with more curvature across the front of the frame
  • Visit your eye doctor for an adjustment if you experience dizziness or a fishbowl effect with your glasses. A fishbowl effect is when the sides of your vision seem to bend and look distorted while the center is clear
astigmatism sphere

Alternative Astigmatism Treatment Options

If you prefer not to wear glasses, there are other ways to treat astigmatism.

Astigmatism Contact Lenses

Contacts that correct astigmatism are called toric lenses. They are available as:

  • Soft contact lenses. Flexible, ideal for comfort, and excellent for low to moderate levels of astigmatism
  • Rigid gas-permeable (RGP) lenses. Also known as hard contacts, less comfortable than soft lenses but better at correcting corneal astigmatism
  • Hybrid lenses. Contacts that are hard in the center and soft around the edges provide better vision and improved comfort

LASIK Eye Surgery

LASIK is a laser eye surgery that corrects astigmatism, myopia, or hyperopia. Typically, LASIK can treat up to 6.00 D of astigmatism.

Read more about LASIK for astigmatism.

Other Refractive Surgeries

An alternative laser eye surgery is PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). Some people with thinner corneas or higher prescriptions are better candidates for PRK than LASIK. 

A refractive lens exchange is another refractive surgery. It removes the natural lens inside your eye and replaces it with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). These steps are the same as cataract surgery.

A phakic intraocular lens implant surgery involves inserting an IOL without removing the natural lens. This IOL can be removed or replaced later.

Astigmatism Glasses FAQ

How do glasses work for astigmatism?

Corrective eyeglasses help bend the light passing through your eye to focus on the retina. This produces a sharper image.

What are the best glasses for astigmatism?

The best glasses for astigmatism depends on the severity of your condition. High-index, Trivex, or polycarbonate lenses are best for severe astigmatism. See an eye care professional for the most personalized recommendation.

What causes astigmatism to worsen?

For many people, astigmatism stays the same or barely changes over time. Sometimes it can cause your vision to get worse. This depends on your corneal health and whether you have other eye conditions such as keratoconus.

Is astigmatism corrected with glasses?

Astigmatism can be corrected by glasses. Doctors can also prescribe contacts or recommend laser surgery like LASIK.

What happens if you wear glasses with astigmatism?

If you have astigmatism, wearing glasses will help you see your surroundings more clearly. Astigmatism causes things to appear blurry or doubled. Lights can also glare or have halos around them. Glasses for astigmatism will correct these.

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

glasses usa logo
Also Great

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

Updated on  December 26, 2022
6 sources cited
Updated on  December 26, 2022
  1. Boyd. "What Is Astigmatism? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment." American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2022.

  2. Chuck, et al. “Refractive Errors & Refractive Surgery Preferred Practice Pattern.” Ophthalmology, 2017.

  3. Kaiser and Friedman. "The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Illustrated Manual of Ophthalmology." Saunders, Elsevier, 2009.

  4. Lopes, et al. “Identification of a candidate gene for astigmatism.Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 2013.

  5. Nanavaty and Daya. “Refractive Lens Exchange versus Phakic Intraocular Lenses.Current Opinion in Ophthalmology, 2012.

  6. Vimont and Turbert. "What Do Astigmatism Measurements Mean?" American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2021.

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The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.
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