Do I Have Astigmatism? [Ask an Eye Doctor in Knoxville]

If you suffer from blurry vision at any distance then you may have astigmatism. This condition is caused by a misshapen cornea or lens resulting in poor vision. Thankfully, your eye doctor in Knoxville can diagnose you with a comprehensive eye exam. Astigmatism can be treated with prescription glasses, contacts, and refractive surgery.

Do I Have Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a frustrating but common vision problem that affects around 33% of Americans. It is a refractive error, which means that your eye doesn’t bend light correctly, resulting in distorted vision. Other common refractive errors include nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Astigmatism can affect your vision in a variety of ways. If you have astigmatism then you may experience vision problems such as: 

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Discomfort or eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Trouble seeing at night

Click here to learn even more about astigmatism!

What Causes Astigmatism?

Astigmatism can be present at birth or develop later due to an injury, surgery, or other eye diseases. It can’t be caused by rubbing your eyes too much, squinting too much, or can occur naturally. 

Astigmatism can affect your eye health due to either a misshapen cornea (corneal astigmatism) or lens (lenticular astigmatism). 

  • The cornea is the clear front surface of the eye
  • The lens is the clear structure inside the eye that helps focus on objects

When healthy, these parts of your eye are curved like the smooth surface of a ball. This allows your eye to bend (refract) the light that enters your eye evenly and focus it on the retina, creating the images that you see.  

Unfortunately, astigmatism causes the cornea or lens to be shaped more like an egg. This creates two mismatched curves due to the light rays not bending evenly, resulting in two different images. These different images combine into one resulting in the blurry vision associated with astigmatism.

Both types of astigmatism result in this problem due to the abnormally steep curve within the cornea or lens. They can even cause blurry vision in multiple directions — vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. 

To learn how astigmatism can affect your vision on yearly basis, click here!

Astigmatism Testing & Treatment From an Eye Doctor in Knoxvillewhat does astigmatism look like

Your Knoxville eye doctor has the knowledge and know-how to diagnose and treat astigmatism. At Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical, Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott serve the Hardin Valley, Karns, Oak Ridge, and greater Knoxville area for all your vision needs, including astigmatism.

Diagnosing Astigmatism

Astigmatism can be diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam from Dr. Thompson or Dr. Abbott. This will involve a series of tests to check your vision health such as a visual acuity test. This test is the chart with letters and numbers in rows that many people associate with visiting the eye doctor. 

They will also perform a refraction exam to test how your eye bends light. This involves using a device with multiple lenses to see how you view objects that are far away. Each eye is tested individually. 

These tests can involve a series of instruments and lights. What makes comprehensive eye exams unique is the use of dilating eye drops. This allows your eye doctors to see the inner structures of your eyes more clearly. A comprehensive eye exam not only determines if you have astigmatism, but other vision and overall health problems, as well.

Each of these tests is designed to evaluate the different parts of your eye and vision. By the end of your exam, your eye doctor will determine if you have astigmatism as well as how to correct it.

Treating Astigmatism

While prevalent, astigmatism is easily treatable. Your eye doctor can correct astigmatism with glasses or contacts. Refractive surgery is also available which can help you see without the need for corrective lenses.

Both prescription glasses and contact lenses can treat astigmatism by compensating for the uneven shape of your eye. These special lenses bend the light properly into the eye, resulting in clearer vision free of the effects of astigmatism. They can also correct other common refractive errors such as farsightedness and nearsightedness. 

With refractive surgery, many patients can enjoy life without the need for prescription eyewear. Lasers are used in this form of treatment to reshape the cornea and correct the refractive error. However, it’s important to note that an evaluation is required to see if you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

There are many types of refractive surgery available, including:

  • Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK)
  • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK)
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
  • Epi-LASIK
  • Small-incision lenticule extraction (SMILE)

There isn’t a “best” form of refractive surgery and what’s best for someone else may not be right for you. The best course of action is to get an evaluation and discuss your options with your eye doctor. They will be able to provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for yourself.

Are you in need of vision exams in Knoxville for you and your family? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!


Blurry vision at any distance is a common symptom of astigmatism. It’s caused by the cornea or lens being misshapen and results in distorted vision. Your eye doctor in Knoxville can both diagnose and treat your condition. Astigmatism is diagnosed with an eye exam and treated with corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.

Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions, and problems and are committed to improving the quality of life in the Knoxville community through enhanced vision. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.

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Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. His family has lived in the Hardin Valley area since 1998, and he graduated from Karns High School in 2004. Dr. Thompson runs Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical alongside his wife, Dr. Catherine Abbott.

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"Dr. Thompson is super professional, and has some of the best 'bedside manner' that I have ever witnessed from any doctor. His staff was very helpful in assisting me with picking out regular frames and sunglasses. I’d happily recommend Dr. Thompson to anyone looking for a eye doctor."
Cody C.