Are You Seeing Blurry? It's Possible You Have an Astigmatism.

Astigmatism is a common phenomenon with an effective correction added to one's glasses or contact lenses, called a cylinder. It occurs when the eye is not a perfect sphere, but rather is more oval shaped.

Are You Seeing Blurry? It's Possible You Have an Astigmatism. in Olympia

Astigmatism is very common and is the result of an irregular shape or curvature of a person’s cornea or lens. The cornea is the clear part that covers the surface of the eye and contributes greatly to the visual system. If a person has an astigmatism, it means his eye is not perfectly round, but rather it is more oval shaped. This affects how light focuses on the retina, which is the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye. If you are not seeing clearly or you’re experiencing blurry vision, please schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor who can diagnose and treat an astigmatism.

American Family Vision Clinic


Astigmatism is not a serious condition and it is actually quite common so your doctor will let you know if you have it. Checking for astigmatism is an integral part of the routine eye exam. It’s helpful to know if you have an astigmatism because once the eye doctor diagnoses it, it can easily be corrected by adding a special correction called the cylinder into the patient’s prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Once the eye doctor finds an astigmatism then a more suitable prescription can be given to you which will allow you to see more clearly, as an uncorrected astigmatism causes blurry vision.

The eye doctor will check your visual acuity and will do refraction which is the standard method used to find a person’s correct optical correction prescribed in the glasses or contact lenses. The eye doctor may also use devices such as a keratometer or a corneal topographer in order to measure the curvature of your cornea. Corneal topography is especially useful when fitting contact lenses on a patient.



There is no way to prevent astigmatism as it is part of the anatomy of the eye, but there are various treatment plans. Astigmatism is treated with glasses that have a cylinder component which is there to specifically correct the astigmatism and allows the light to properly bend on an eye that’s not spherical. Some people who are qualified to wear contact lenses may prefer going that route, but it really depends on the person and their preferences. There are different types of contact lenses for people with astigmatism. A contact lens that has a cylinder in it to correct an astigmatism is called a toric lens.

There is a very special type of contact lens, called orthokeratology (ortho-k for short) which acts like a retainer and temporarily corrects refractive errors. People sleep with their ortho-k lenses which reshape their cornea during the night. Upon awakening, the lenses are removed and the person is able to see clearly for most of the duration of the day. This is a temporary vision correction as the person needs to wear these lenses every night in order to maintain the effect the next day. Once the ortho-k lenses are no longer used, the vision goes back to its original state.


A permanent method for correcting astigmatism is laser eye surgery, also known as refractive surgery. For example, LASIK is a procedure which reshapes the cornea to correct astigmatism and/ or other refractive errors. Please schedule a consultation with your eye doctor to find out if you’re a qualified candidate for refractive surgery and to figure out the best treatment plan for your needs.

Common Questions

Some people won’t experience any symptoms, while others could have any of the following: Blurry, distorted and/or a fuzzy type of vision Eyestrain or irritation Difficulty with night vision Squinting Headaches
The most common type of astigmatism is found in the cornea. This occurs when the cornea is shaped more like a football, as opposed to a round soccer ball. The other kind of astigmatism is found in the natural lens inside the eye and is known as lenticular astigmatism. This type of lens has certain kinds of distortions which prevent proper vision. People with lenticular astigmatism often have a regular shaped cornea, but it’s possible to have irregularities in the lens and cornea.
In most cases, LASIK can completely correct astigmatism, and the results are permanent. However LASIK may not be recommended for people with high astigmatism. When a patient is seen for a LASIK evaluation their eyes are examined using a corneal topographer, this enables the eye doctor to determine if the patient is a good fit for LASIK eye surgery. While astigmatism may sound scary, it is simply a refractive error like nearsightedness or farsightedness, which can be corrected by LASIK surgery. For LASIK surgery, highly accurate lasers are used to reshape the cornea, which results in a more symmetrical front surface of the eye, eliminating astigmatism-related vision problems.
Are You Seeing Blurry? It's Possible You Have an Astigmatism.
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Astigmatism is a common component of some people’s optical correction, as a result of an irregular shape or curvature of the cornea or lens. If you are experiencing blurry vision or any other symptoms, please schedule an eye exam by calling (360) 491-2121 so that you can find out if you have astigmatism and be provided with the proper correction. Patients searching for advanced treatment for astigmatism visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. 


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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