Eye doctor covering patient's left eye to test vision.
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Astigmatism is a common vision problem caused by an irregular cornea or an irregularly shaped part of your eye (its lens). This irregularity changes the way light passes through or is refracted by the retina. Frequently, astigmatism is combined with someone being farsighted or nearsighted.

Not everyone with a form of vision impairment will need glasses. It is possible to have slight vision problems. Regular eye exams are important because your eyes change over time.

Also, in some cases, corrective surgery or orthokeratology (a treatment that uses hard, rigid contact lenses to correct the irregular curvature of the cornea temporarily) can be used to correct vision instead of glasses.

Whether you need glasses depends on how strong your vision is and how clear you can see.

If you have eyestrain or blurry vision, you need glasses. If you have a problem with your astigmatism, you will need glasses.

  • Double vision.
  • “It’s hard to see at night.”
  • headaches due to eyestrain
  • squinting

If your astigmatism is affecting your daily life, you will probably need glasses.

It is best to see an eye doctor. An eye doctor can check your eye health and perform a vision test to see if you would benefit from glasses.

There are many places you can get glasses if your doctor recommends it.

Local optometrist

If you went to the doctor to have your astigmatism checked, you can also order your glasses through them.

It is convenient if you go back to your doctor to make sure the glasses are positioned correctly for your eyes, because it is not always the cheapest option.

You can find eye doctors in your area through the American Optometric Association.

Retail optometry locations

In many towns, there are stand-alone stores that sell glasses. There are also optometry centers in some large retail stores like Walmart. These retail locations typically offer glasses that work with a wide range of prescriptions and astigmatisms.


People with astigmatism can use the glasses that are offered on many websites. Double-check that the company can make your prescription before you buy a particular set of frames.

For example, Liingo, an online glasses store, says it can create glasses with prescriptions between -14.00 to +6.00 sphere, and its cylinder range is -3.75 to +3.75. But the retailer also says the total power (sphere + cylinder) on the glasses can’t exceed -14.00.

For more information about what the numbers in your prescription mean, check out this article.

Best for giving back


St Michel frames
  • Price: frame options range from under $10 to over $200

If you like to give back with your purchases, you’ll love that EyeBuyDirect has a Buy 1 Give 1 program where a frame is donated to another country every time a pair is purchased on the website.

EyeBuyDirect has a variety of frames. It sells reading and sunglasses. There are no contact options.

You can take a quiz to find the perfect pair or use a filter to find frames. You can try on the glasses before buying them.


  • frames for men, women, and children
  • There are prescription and nonprescription sunglasses.
  • Consumers can give back with their purchase if they buy one.
  • Can try on frames before buying.


  • There are no brick and mortar store locations.
  • Does not sell things.

Best for using vision insurance


Ray-Ban frames
  • Price: around $100 to over $300

Eyeconic is set up to make using your insurance easy for you. The main bar of the home page has a link to use my insurance. The site says that most customers with insurance pay less than $35 for their eyewear.

“The website has links to help you learn more about signing up for insurance if you don’t already have it. If you want to use your funds for eyewear, it has directions.”

The website can help you find an in-network eye doctor and try on frames. The site sells contacts for people who prefer glasses.


  • Contacts and glasses are sold by the seller.
  • It accepts insurance from VSP, MetLife, and Cigna Vision.
  • Can try on frames before buying.


  • There are cheaper frames on other websites.
  • “Doesn’t offer online vision exams.”

Best for designer frames


Amelia E. Nettle frames
  • Price: under $30 to over $350

There is a range of designer frames at GlassesUSA. It sells contact lens brands. The site has a section for coupons and discounts to help offset the higher price of designer frames. It offers discounts in the form of a heroes reward, student discount, and referral program.

There is a virtual try-on option on the site, but there are no in-person stores or a mail program to test out the frames. You need a valid prescription to get an eye exam.


  • There is a wide range of designer glasses.
  • Contacts and glasses are sold by the seller.
  • “There are a lot of discount options, including a hero’s reward, student discount, referral program, and affiliate program.”


  • “Doesn’t offer eye exams.”
  • There are no in-person stores that can give you a try on the glasses.

Best for vision exams

Warby Parker

Durand frames
  • Price: $95 to over $375

While many online sellers don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, Warby Parker has stores in many states. At these locations, you can get an in-person eye exam, but there’s also an option to renew your prescription from home with the Virtual Vision Test.

In addition to these options for getting an eyewear prescription, Warby Parker offers a Home Try-On program where five frames can be sent to you. You can also use the Warby Parker app’s Virtual Try-On option to see what they might look like. You may be disappointed to discover that there aren’t children’s frames or designer frames available, though.


  • Many brick and mortar locations are in the US
  • Virtual Vision Test allows for prescription renewal at home.
  • You can get five frames for free with a home try-on program.


  • “There are no children’s frames available online.”
  • There are cheaper options on other sites.

Price Glasses and Contacts? Pros Cons
EyeBuyDirect frames range from under $10 to over $200 glasses only • frames for men, women, and children
• Consumers can give back with their purchase if they buy one.
• Can try on frames before buying.
• There are no brick and mortar store locations.
• does not also sell contacts
Eyeconic around $100 to over $300 both • Contacts and glasses are sold by the seller.
• It accepts insurance from VSP, MetLife, and Cigna Vision.
• Can try on frames before buying.
• There are cheaper frames on other websites.
• doesn’t offer online vision exams
GlassesUSA under $30 to over $350 both • There is a wide range of designer glasses.
• Contacts and glasses are sold by the seller.
• lots of discount options in addition to sales and coupons, including “heroes reward,” student discount, referral program, and affiliate program
• “Doesn’t offer eye exams.”
• There are no in-person stores that can give you a try on the glasses.
Warby Parker $95 to over $375 both • Many brick and mortar locations are in the US
• Virtual Vision Test allows for prescription renewal at home.
• Home Try-On program sends five frames to you
• no children’s frames online
• there are cheaper options available on the other sites

Some glasses are created differently. The materials used in the lens, the coating used, and the frame shape can all affect how clear you see with your astigmatism.

A special cylindrical lens is used to compensate for how light passes through the eye. In some patients over 40 years old, an eye doctor might recommend a bifocal or progressive lens.

Lens material

There are different thicknesses of lens. The thinner the lens is recommended, the higher your prescription is. If you have high-level astigmatism, you will probably want a trivex lens instead of a standard one.

Lens coatings and layers

Anti-fogging and scratch resistance can be achieved with coating a lens. People with higher prescriptions may see better with an anti-reflective coating on their lens.

Light is reflected to the eye from the light. The more you can do to keep your glasses free of harmful UV rays, the better you will see.

Eyeglass frames, shape, and size

The frames determine how the glasses fit on your face. A flatter frame can be beneficial for high-level astigmatism. If you have a condition called astigmatism, wraparound glasses can cause distortion.

You can take glasses to get a fit check

“If you order online, make sure that your glasses fit your face. Taking them to a store to get fitted can make a difference. If you didn’t buy them there, there may be a fee to adjust them.”

Your doctor may have questions before your eye exam. You can expect them to ask about it.

  • Your family history and overall health history.
  • What are the symptoms you are experiencing?
  • How long have you been experiencing these symptoms?
  • When your last eye exam was.

After your eye doctor completes their exam, you may want to ask a few questions to better understand their findings and the possible treatment options.

Questions to ask about astigmatism

  • How strong is my astigmatism? Can you explain my prescription numbers to me? Most optometrists will be more than happy to take a few minutes to explain your prescription.
  • Is there any other cause for my symptoms?
  • Is my astigmatism permanent?
  • Are there any restrictions that I should follow? (i.e., wearing glasses while driving, avoiding driving at night, etc.)
  • How soon should I have my eyes looked at?
  • Can I use contact lenses? Depending on your astigmatism, you may actually see the world more clearly with contact lenses than glasses. An important potential follow-up question is what brands and types of contacts are appropriate for your eyes.
  • Am I a good candidate for vision surgery or orthokeratology? Based on your doctor’s answer and your personal preferences, you might decide on a course of action besides glasses. You may also want to follow up this question by asking what your insurance will cover.
  • Should I be concerned about developing a lazy eye in the future?

When should you wear glasses for astigmatism?

If your astigmatism is causing things to appear blurry, you’re straining your eyes to see, you have Double vision., or you’re struggling to see at night, you’ll probably need glasses. An eye doctor can provide you with a prescription for your astigmatism and answer any questions about when you should wear your new glasses.

Do reading glasses correct astigmatism?

Over-the-counter reading glasses are not good for astigmatism. A pair of glasses can. If you have trouble reading or driving because of your astigmatism, you should see your eye doctor for a prescription that matches your eyes.

Can astigmatism go away naturally?

It’s almost impossible for astigmatism to go away naturally. Some individuals believe that eye exercises can help, but the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says it is not an effective way to treat astigmatism. According to the AAO only glasses, contacts, and surgery can correct for refraction issues.

What can make astigmatism worse?

Research is still ongoing into what causes someone’s astigmatism to worsen. Age may impact astigmatism as eyelids lose muscle tone and put less pressure on the eye. Health conditions may also impact the curvature of the eye and someone’s astigmatism. Even rubbing your eyes has been associated with irregular astigmatism.

If your eye doctor thinks that having glasses would benefit you, they will determine the best prescription during your eye exam. You can order your glasses from local stores or online after you have this prescription.

If you have noticed that your world is getting blurry, it is important to see your eye doctor. They can help you figure out if you need glasses and if you need to go to a doctor.

Catherine Crider has worked with children for the past decade as a trained elementary and special education teacher and finds joy in supporting blossoming families and their infants. She enjoys teaching new parents and parents-to-be about the best practices in baby care. Catherine teaches full-spectrum childbirth and post-partum education in several locations in California.