By Madison Gilliam

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a vision problem that is quite common. It is where an irregular curve is present on the cornea or the lens of the eye (Kivi & Boskey, 2015). Astigmatism produces a change in the way light passes or refracts to the retina, where it causes blurry, fuzzy, or distorted vision (Kivi & Boskey, 2015).

With astigmatism, objects are perceived as blurry whereas those with normal vision perceive objects clearly and accurately.

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Whats involved?

The primary receiving area for vision is present in a vast majority of the occipital lobe. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that receives signals from all five of the senses (Goldstein, 2014). The frontal lobe Is important for the perceptions that are involved in the coordination of information that is received through two or more senses (Goldstein, 2014).

According to Goldstein (2014, pg. 23), "light reflected from objects in the environment enters the eye through the pupil and is focused by the cornea and lens to form sharp images of the objects on the retina, the network of neurons that covers the back of the eye that contains receptors for vision".

For a person with astigmatism, the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye, which causes the images to be blurry (Vinas, Sawides, Gracia & Marcos, 2012).

The Gestalt Approach

Gestalt's approach of perception focuses on viewing things as a whole. When identifying objects, it is identified as a whole first and then the individual parts are perceived (Goldstein, 2014). When objects are complex, we tend to reorganize them into simpler components in order to perceive them easily (Goldstein, 2014).

Treatment options

Astigmatism can be treated. There are three ways to treat it: wearing glasses, corrective lenses, or refractive surgery (Vinas, Sawides, Gracia & Marcos, 2012).

Eyeglasses are shaped to counteract the shape of either the cornea or the lens that is the cause of the blurry vision (Vinas, Sawides, Gracia & Marcos, 2012).

Corrective contact lenses have a greater light-bending power in the direction that the curvature is present, which helps to level the curve while the lenses are being used (Vinas, Sawides, Gracia & Marcos, 2012).

The surgery works by changing the shape of the cornea, which corrects the irregular curvature that is causes the blurred vision (Vinas, Sawides, Gracia & Marcos, 2012).

All three of these options are effective, it is a matter of personal preference as to which one is the preferred treatment option.


Goldstein, E. B. (2014). Sensation and Perception (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Kivi, R. & Boskey, E. (2015). Astigmatism. Retrieved from

Vinas, M., Sawides, L., Gracia, P. d., & Marcos, S. (2012). Perceptual adaptation to the correction of natural astigmatism. PLoS One, 7(9) doi: