Astigmatism is a naturally occurring, treatable condition of the eye that causes blurred or distorted vision. Astigmatism is very common; most people have it to some degree. Slight astigmatisms do not affect vision or require treatment, but more serious cases can cause eye discomfort and headaches. In astigmatism cases, the shape of the eye is not completely round, so when light hits the back of the eye it is refracted more in one direction than the other. This allows only part of the object to be in focus at one time. Objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy, making it difficult to see fine details.

Astigmatism often is present at birth and it frequently occurs in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Sometimes it sets in after certain types of eye surgery, such as cataract removal. Normally astigmatism can be corrected using glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery. The condition can change over time, requiring updates to corrective lens prescriptions. In children, if left untreated, astigmatism in one eye can cause amblyopia, more commonly referred to as "lazy eye." It is possible to have astigmatism and not know it, especially in children who may not recognize the symptoms. This underscores the importance of comprehensive eye exams annually.


The specialists at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital use the most advanced technology and are known for working together to treat the full range of both common and complex corneal problems. From cataract and corneal surgeries to highly specialized contact lenses, Callahan features the expertise, experience, and cutting-edge equipment needed to treat the most challenging corneal conditions. Patients come here from around the world and nation because we don’t just treat eye disease – we empower patients to take control of their eye health.

Callahan is the only full-service facility in Alabama specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the eye and one of only a few worldwide that is entirely devoted to advancements in ophthalmology. That reputation is supported by 16 operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery and a 24/7 eye emergency room that is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 11,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye procedures than any other facility in the world.

Our facility is home to more than two dozen ophthalmologists, many of whom are named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. Callahan is widely recognized for excellence in patient care, having consistently earned prestigious awards from health care consulting group Press Ganey, and in 2017 Callahan was named as one of the “100 Great Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Callahan also is known for pioneering developments in surgical instruments, devices, and procedures used by ophthalmologists across the globe. As part of the UAB Medicine academic medical center, Callahan is actively involved in ongoing research and clinical trials. Many of our ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to bring the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.





UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of astigmatism. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials