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What Causes Astigmatism to Get Worse?

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Astigmatism, a common refractive error, occurs due to an irregularly shaped cornea or lens. This leads to distorted or blurred vision. While many people live with mild astigmatism without notable interference in their daily lives, it’s crucial to understand what might cause this condition to worsen. This article offers insights into the factors influencing the progression of astigmatism.

what causes astigmatism to get worse

The Nature of Astigmatism

Astigmatism differs from other refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness) and hypermetropia (farsightedness) in that it doesn’t necessarily involve the length of the eyeball but rather its shape. In an ideal scenario, the eye’s cornea and lens have a symmetrical round shape. With astigmatism, one or both can be more oblong, leading to multiple focal points and blurred vision.

There are two main types of astigmatism:

  1. Corneal Astigmatism: Stemming from the cornea’s irregular shape.
  2. Lenticular Astigmatism: Caused by an irregularly shaped lens inside the eye.

Factors that Exacerbate Astigmatism

Astigmatism can progress or worsen due to several reasons:

  1. Genetics: A hereditary predisposition to astigmatism might lead to its onset early in life and a potential progression as one ages.
  2. Eye Injuries: Trauma to the eye can change the cornea’s shape, leading to induced astigmatism which might worsen if not treated.
  3. Eye Surgeries: Some eye surgeries, particularly those that involve incisions in the cornea, can cause or exacerbate astigmatism.
  4. Keratoconus: A condition in which the cornea becomes progressively thinner and cone-shaped, leading to increased astigmatism and other vision problems.
  5. Lid Swelling or Chalazia: Chronic eyelid conditions can exert pressure on the cornea, causing it to warp and inducing or worsening astigmatism.
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Lifestyle and Environmental Influences

The progression of astigmatism can sometimes be linked to daily activities and environmental factors:

  1. Excessive Eye Strain: Prolonged close-up work, extensive screen time without breaks, or working in dim light can strain the eyes and potentially exacerbate astigmatism.
  2. Incorrect Prescription: Using eyeglasses or contact lenses that don’t correct astigmatism appropriately might not only fail to address the issue but can lead to further visual discomfort.
  3. Lack of Regular Eye Examinations: Without routine check-ups, small changes in astigmatism might go unnoticed, delaying necessary updates to vision prescriptions.

At the Khanna Vision Institute, Dr. Rajesh Khanna MD emphasizes the significance of understanding one’s eye health. Regular check-ups can detect any progression in astigmatism and lead to timely interventions.

Managing and Treating Progressive Astigmatism

To tackle worsening astigmatism, several approaches can be adopted:

  1. Corrective Lenses: Toric lenses, specifically designed for astigmatism, can effectively correct the refractive error. They can be used in eyeglasses or as contact lenses.
  2. Orthokeratology: Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses, worn overnight, can reshape the cornea temporarily to correct mild astigmatism.
  3. Refractive Surgery: Procedures such as LASIK or PRK can be employed to reshape the cornea and correct astigmatism. An in-depth consultation with professionals like Dr. Rajesh Khanna MD can determine the suitability of such procedures.
  4. Managing Underlying Conditions: In cases where astigmatism is induced or exacerbated by conditions like Keratoconus, treating or managing the primary condition becomes paramount.


Astigmatism, like other refractive errors, demands attention and understanding. Recognizing what causes it to worsen allows for proactive measures, ensuring clear vision and comfort. Through a combination of lifestyle adjustments, professional guidance, and modern ophthalmological solutions, progressive astigmatism can be effectively managed. As always, regular consultations with experts such as Dr. Rajesh Khanna MD can play a pivotal role in maintaining optimal eye health.

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