For a lot of everyday Australians, it may be difficult to accept that being diagnosed with “astigmatism” in one or both eyes is not a matter of serious concern. Many people are unaware that it is an extremely common vision condition, where a large number of people are born with it, where the effects of astigmatism can develop further as you age. An example where this becomes more apparent as you age is if you have ever wondered why other motor vehicle’s headlights are so bright and distracting whilst driving (to the point where oncoming traffic or 4WDheadlights in your rear-view mirror are almost blinding), there is a chance you have astigmatism.

Astigmatism typically refers to an abnormal shape of the surface of your eye (known as the cornea) of your which can obscure one’s vision at any distance. There may be no vision issues attributed to minor levels of astigmatism, but a more severe level of astigmatism must likely be corrected by way of glasses, contacts lenses, or LASIK surgery for proper quality of life.

Far too often, people with astigmatism incorrectly assume they are unable to wear contact lenses due to the curvature of their cornea causing contact lenses to slide or become dislodged (or even pop out randomly). In today’s modern world of state-of-the-art contact lenses, many innovative options are available to fix astigmatism with various types of lenses. Astigmatism may make your prescription a little more difficult to find and potentially more expensive, but it does not prohibit you from finding the right type of corrective lens that suits your lifestyle.

At George Street Eye Care Centre in Sydney, we’ve helped countless patients get rid of glasses and contact lenses for the long run, assisting people with most forms of astigmatism find the right eye health options, such as LASIK surgery to correct astigmatism for the long term. 

Contact Us today on (02) 9230 0010 to speak with our specialised astigmatism laser eye surgery team at George Street Eye Care Centre in Sydney today.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a term that sounds much worse than it actually is. It could potentially be the fact that ‘stigma’ is part of this word which leads many people to believe that something negative must be implied.

Astigmatism basically means that you don’t have a perfectly spherical (or round) shape on your cornea (front surface of your eye). If you have astigmatism, one corneal contour is curved more than the other. A popular way to explain astigmatism is the shape of a soccer ball (perfectly round) compared with a rugby ball (egg-shaped), this analogy is a slight exaggeration where the effect on the eye is more subtle.

Symptoms of astigmatism may include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision at distances
  • Eyestrain and headaches (especially focusing intently, such as when reading or staring at a computer screen)
  • Difficulty driving at night


Experiencing headaches when staring at a screen for long periods without a break may be a symptom of astigmatism.

Can people with astigmatism wear contact lenses?

In short – yes. However, it is important to note that a standard soft lens may not be suitable for individuals with moderate (0.75 to 2.5 dioptres) to high (More than 2.5 dioptres) astigmatism, as the lenses are too soft and malleable and may slide out when placed on the eye. As soft lenses follow the natural curve of the eye, they may not give it the desired rounded shape to correct more serious astigmatism.

It is important to find the right type of contact lens to correct your astigmatism if required.

The best types of contact lenses for people with minor astigmatism are regular soft, disposable contact lenses which don’t have any correction for astigmatism.

More moderate levels of astigmatism often are remedied with a specially shaped contact lens called toric lenses.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses (also called GP lenses) are custom-made contact lenses which are sometimes fitted professionally for those with higher or unusual amounts of astigmatism. Hybrid lenses hybrid contact lenses (made of an RGP lens material, enclosed by a fitting zone (or “skirt”) made of a soft hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material) provide the best of both types of contact lenses for astigmatism — the sharp vision of RGP lenses and comfort that’s comparable to wearing toric soft lenses.

Both GP and hybrid contacts often provide sharper vision for moderate astigmatism than standard soft lenses.

Are contacts or glasses better for astigmatism?

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide what is best for them.

Before deciding between contacts and glasses, keep in mind that one is not necessarily better than the other; each has its pros and cons in terms of vision, ease of use and eye health.

In summary, glasses can make you have a more balanced vision. But it’s the wearer who eventually determines which solution is best for them. Contact lenses are typically the go-to alternative for active individuals since there is a lower risk of injury and therefore present fewer limitations for the wearer. In some cases (such as when playing sports) contact lenses are preferable despite the more imperfect corrections to your vision.

Whether you choose to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses for vision correction mostly depends on personal preferences. Lifestyle, comfort, convenience, budget and aesthetics should all factor into your decision-making process.

Looking for a permanent solution to your astigmatism?

LASIK surgery is also a (typically permanent) solution for individuals who do not wish to wear glasses or contact lenses forever, contact the team at George Street Eye Care Centre in Sydney today on (02) 9230 0010 to discuss our LASIK surgery options for astigmatism today.

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