Astigmatism Status, Visual Experience and Eye Scanning Habits Survey

Since astigmatism comes in a variety of forms and combinations I thought it could be useful to have a simple survey-like topic for members with astigmatism to share their experience in hopes of finding consistent factors that possibly let to it. I think it’ll be especially helpful for those of us who have non-lens induced astigmatism but in any case I think it’ll benefit everyone with some degree of astigmatism.

Various studies have been done on how certain eye scanning habits might lead to astigmatism, this is a popular one worth taking a look at: Visual Conditions of Simphony Musicians.pdf (3.2 MB)
A lot of information on this theory is provided in the forum guide on astigmatism as well:

So I’m wondering how much this applies to people here, what I think would help is sharing the astigmatism status, what sort of visual experience it gives you (ghosting, streaks, starbursts, smears, etc) and what eye movements and postural habits do you think you regularly have, there’s no need to be specific about what task you specifically do so sharing that information is of course completely optional.

As a basic example I’ll start:

Astigmatism Status: OD: 100° axis ???.d OS: 80° ???.d (I’ll update the diopter numbers when I obtain them)

Visual Experience: my ghost images are almost perfectly mirrored (bottom left and right of main image), right eye’s ghost image starts further than the left, they’re generally not noticeable except for during the night with high contrast details (e.g. neon lights, white on black text), lights far away look like starbursts and I’ve found that it causes some normal blur in general, left eye has a small but noticeable residual blur that appears in really close distances, I don’t know if this is caused by astigmatism or not yet but I’ll mention it for now.
I notice very minor distortions even in close up, but it’s quite subtle.

Eye scanning habits: I move my eyes up and down more than left and right, most of the time when I look left and right even if it’s easily achievable with some eye movement I habitually move my head more often it seems, I don’t have a consistent head tilt, at least not anymore, at some point my axes were both 80° but it seems that my right eye with the lower astigmatism has shifted to mirror my left eye which matches with the theory of how a change in habits can lead to a change in astigmatic status.


I found the pdf about the orchestra musicians very interesting and informative. I play piano and played and practiced a lot growing up. I also am an avid reader. my astigmatism axis is 180 degrees in both eyes, however my right eye’s astigmatism is close to two full diopters stronger than my left.

I still havent figured out my visual experience as i find in general everything is blurry and really havent been able to figure out the distinction in blur yet.

Eye scanning habits are almost completely horizontal or left to right.

Im not 100% sure why my right eye has the higher astigmatism but there are a few factors that may come into play. I have a congenital deformity to the right side of my face. The jaw bones on that side grew significantly shorter and the ear on the right side is deformed. I can hear bass vibrations through that ear but rely almost completely on my left ear to hear anything. This results in my turning my head to the right in order to hear more clearly. Now this is where it gets wonky in my case. My sph diopters are higher in my left eye than in my right by almost 2 full diopters (LE -7.5 sph , -1.75 cyl, RE 5.75 sph, -3.5 cyl). Thus not being 100% sure why the re has such a high astigmatism.

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A pronounced asymmetry of the face could do that, causing a distortion of the extra-ocular muscles on one side as well. Why you would have the diopter gaps in sphere and cylinder in opposite eyes could be an attempt by the visual cortex to balance out these inequalities, although for the moment I cannot come up with any conjectures on how this would work.

I have a slight asymmetry in my face (as do many people) and my left eye and ear are a little lower than my right. I have the higher myopia and the higher astigmatism in my left eye, and the diopter gap in both has increased as I have improved.

You have a tricky juggling job ahead of you, and maybe you really do need a test lens kit to negotiate your way through it. I wish you good luck on this journey

Interesting. The facial asymmetry is proven to be due to teeth/occlusion asymmetry, and there is a method called OSB to raise dental height in precision of micrometers. They claim dental occlusion is important up to each micron. Other method (Starecta) claims astigmatism is also a symptom arising from postural issues.

I mostly move eyes up-down and head left-right, yet my astigmatism did not become more ATR. Some changes present yet they are within “stable” margin.

There are theories motor cortex also participates in astigmatism compensation, apart from visual cortex alone.

I have the same.

I think to try glasses without cylinder correction for close up, left eye reads well without -1.75 (-1.25 real) and right eye follows left without -3.00 (-2.25 real). Although 0.25 cylinder reduction in glasses is very painful, 2.00 drop does not feel that much. Perhaps because the sphere is higher.
But since I finally seem to found a lab which will cut Boston RGP in accordance to Ortho C specs, I will persist in which I have now, because my sphere and/or cylinder could dramatically decrease after applying it a few times, according to description.

Like with EM, initially the progress could be dramatic, and after it’s gradual, maybe 0.25 even every 3 months.

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You have gone to a lot of trouble to get yourself Ortho C lenses, and I very much hope that you will benefit from them. :smile:

John Yee wrote “do not email me again” and did not reply at all after.

But there’s a site called Wayback Machine where his older method is archived (as well his abandoned patent which could be easily found at Google Patents). So in older method I just need to watch TV in them for 15 minutes. And he claimed he used it to treat any myopia, even as high as -19. Yet said me he usually does not treat high myopia. To “my” fake email he said he did not stop treat it. So his controversies are strange.

As well, he said nothing is going to work with strabismus. Later to “my” fake mail he said it will work better if strabismus will be absent. None of ophthalmologists I visited said I have strabismus, I need to convince them but they still can’t find it. Some device called “synopthophore” showed I have 12-15 degrees of phoria/tropia/strabismus but they said it is within normal range. I doubt it. I see prominent misalignment on lateral gazes. So worth trying as I don’t have much strabismus.

Now I stop moving from the topic, but Alex Breedon shown us his AL of about 26.5 mm while having about -7.25 SE and I have -9.00 SE at AL of 27.2 mm. Maybe it’s axial myopia since 0.7 mm matches 2 D. But Ortho C claims to reshape the eye (not touching the cornea) up to as 1.5x4(=6) D. Not sure how long it will take, though. Maybe as much as EM, if it really can.

The most hard part is Center Thickness of 0.15 mm - I’ve digged a tons of stores yet many just ignore or make a wise “face” and say nothing relevant about. A total waste of $130 if the thickness is incorrect, it will be Ortho K instead or “soft contact lens”. Many just require for my optometrist to contact them or fax them a copy of my prescription, and my optometrist does not give me an email and/or it’s a “dead number”. Found some lab in Croatia with (yet) friendly people. Tomorrow they will reply me.

To return to the topic, there is lens astigmatism present apart from cornea astigmatism.
Sometimes one compensates for other, sometimes there is clearly one source of astigmatism and sometimes they aggravate each other. Any musings - like whether lens astigmatism is also caused by visual scanning habits.

@Alexbreedon1111 you have zero astigmatism in the cornea in your right eye (it’s rare I think!) yet you have 0.50 cylinder. It should be caused by lens or retina tilt (many doubt this old theory). Perhaps visual cortex expects some cornea astigmatism to compensate for, otherwise it just “over-compensates” it. Maybe you scan vertically too much.

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Axis around 80° in both eyes. Official -1.25D, but self measured between -0.5D to -0.3D.
Interestingly, when I used do study a lot looking at my desk my head was often tilted around 10° offset.

Usually scan left to right. Not very often I find myself needing to look up and down constantly.

Visual artefacts with no cylinder corrections: horizontal lines sharper than vertical at distance, and vertical lines sharper than horizontal at close up. No ghosting or double vision unless I active focus to compensate for a large magnitude (one diopter or more). I don’t have cylinder on my current normalized.


Axis around 165° in the right and 15° in the left, so both of my eyes hover around the 180° astigmatism. Last time an autorefractor measured it, I “needed” -.75D in the left eye and -1D in the right (incidentally, the autorefractor also recommended a .25D difference in spherical correction, with less correction for the right eye and more for the left). I do not consider there is any difference (beyond what is normal) between my eyes and I wear equalised correction, though I am very curious about this tendency for the left eye to be slightly less astigmatic and slightly more myopic. My brother, who developed myopia and astigmatism without ever wearing glasses, has had exactly the same experience with the autorefractor (.25D less cylinder in the eye that “needs” .25D more spherical) and I wonder how common this is (or if it is just a matter of shared genes).

At the time I developed this astigmatism, I used to use the phone quite a bit while lying sideways and that is what I attribute the it to. An extreme-close up activity with the pillow making the centre of vision slightly higher than the task, resulting in my eyes “default” position during that time to be a bit to the side. I have mostly abandoned this habit now. In other situations, I don’t tend to move my eyes a lot without moving my head.

My astigmatism often manifests as ghosting or a slight distortion (like the text looking messy) at a distance. Sometimes, I have transient ghosting at all distances, which I now attribute to something else as it appears less and less often even in bad lighting.

I suspect tension to play a role too, I’ve always had tension in the neck/shoulder/eyes/head area and the more relaxed I am, the easier the astigmatism is to resolve. Lately, I’ve noticed a level of improvement in my astigmatism though not yet measurable in cms. I am starting to believe it is something that simply takes time, and the healthier (in all ways) and more patient we are, the more likely it is that it will be eventually resolved.

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Trying to be ideally “emmetropic” is waste of time, and I bet there are few people with ideal vision in all day times on the Earth. Perhaps those living high in the mountains and never use gadgets, never play games on screens etc.

You, I and we all are supposed to always see some blur and directional blur, especially far away. At close up, this is compensated fully or partially by the ciliary muscle. Unless you will continue your journey further with plus normalized to become hyperopic at least to the mild amounts. But you will sacrifice a tiny bit of close up accommodation etc. To fully get rid of astigmatism, you should maintain fully ideal visual and postural habits, and I bet you then should get rid of yourself :blush: and be closed in monastery.

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Monks also read, and so do semi-hermits like myself. :smile:

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Emmetropia is not “perfect” vision, it is a spectrum of clear vision that is normal in humans. And that is far better than my current eyesight. If my vision without glasses becomes what it is with glasses, I’ll be perfectly happy to call myself an emmetrope. Humans are not supposed to have the vision of an eagle, and I’m unlikely to need it. But seeing the moon as one circle instead of three would be nice.

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I don’t remember seeing the moon as three circles…
Maybe one circle and two semi-circles (up and down) from the main image.

With cylinder, without cylinder, without anything.

All I seen without -2.25 and -1.25 cylinder is light sources kilometers away look like vertical lines instead of being a point. And of course, some tripling of text and directional blur. That was in contacts, had not check the moon in glasses without cylinder.

Maybe this is the reason my eyes converging?

It is still for clarification she had esophoria/esotropia or just convergence insufficiency.
But there’s enough info occlusion does or doesn’t help eyes.

There is “Astigmatism” amount the symptoms malocclusion can create:

But we can’t prove it. According to common sense, it should be the cause of myopia as well while it is not listed there. Some have better shapes of the skull genetically and their eyes could hold way more close up strain than eyes of myopes. There is no other apparent real causes amongst the natural order as per my knowledge.

We’re dealing here not with the real cause (close up strain, but it’s the cause as well, just the question is why some people can withhold a very huge amount of close up strain and do not get myopia). Apparently there is a predisposition to myopia, and I don’t believe it’s genetics in terms of eye feature. And don’t believe that genetics does not change naturally (just like axial length).

The same goes for astigmatism. Some move their eyes a lot and get it; some do not.

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I think you very well may be right about the lens kit unfortunately. I’m trying to not get too discouraged about it all as we are on a fairly tight budget.
I actually had surgery about 6 years ago to correct some of the asymmetry in my face. He lowered and lengthened my top right side jaw to make it more equal (closer to 180 degrees than the angle it was previously), lengthened the bottom right jaw bone and put in a joint on the right side. I wonder how this will change things for me going forward. Who knew this stuff was all connected!!!

I was looking at the information below about the effects of posture on the eyes. Ive never thought of any of these things before but can see how, yes, all of them would effect eyesight. The body is truly an amazing thing! Thats what I try to hold onto when i feel the discouragement i wrote about above. Ive got this far and have made changes/built healthier habits that have changed things for the better so Im sure i can do this too!


I am too, so I dropped the idea of a test lens kit. The result was that I ended of with10 out of the 14 pairs of reduced glasses I bought being of no use, because I had made assumptions about my ability to reduce cylinder correction in the left eye. In the right eye it worked out according to plan… Fortunately I did not have to replace any of these glasses, as I went back to not wearing glasses and doing EM in ‘commando’ mode. This was possible because of my much stronger right eye. But you will not be able to do this with the amount of myopia and astigmatism that you have in both eyes.

What I do recommend is that you do not buy too many pairs of glasses in advance according to a planned schedule. My right eye improved so fast that I had to buy glasses well in advance of my left eye, so that I could mix and match lenses. I had taken the precaution of buying them all in the same frame.

Even nicer would be to find a friendly optometrist who will let you try different reduction combinations, if not for distance vision, at least for computer vision. They are sometimes prepared to find this a reasonable request, but then you probably end up paying a great deal more for the glasses. If you want to go for buying your glasses online, you will have to do a bit of guessing. The safest is to go for two spherical reductions of 0.25 in your norms before trying to do a spherical or a cylinder equalising step. You will have become an expert at this by the time you have reached less complicated waters :smile:, and will be in a situation to offer tips and advice on the guide we are working on and already linked to by Kam above.

Thank you Ursa! Im super nervous about it all but in the end I know that I can do it. I will be sure to document everything so that I can add to the discussion on Astigmatism.

I will take your advice of not buying too many pairs of glasses in advance and do a couple of sph reductions before trying to do an equalizing. Im also going to maybe do 2 sph drops and then a swap from cyl to sph. I think this will result in drops and then an increase in sph about once a year or so but we will see!

I still have my optometrist appointment coming up. Im hoping she will be willing to figure out my first set of differentials with me in return for my buying that set of glasses with her. Perhaps she would even be willing to do my differential lenses too (just buy lenses and put them in the glasses I already have). Only a few weeks to go until this appointment. After it I will be able to guage more clearly the way to go.

Ok, ive hijacked this threat enough. Thank you again Ursa!

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I haven’t come across any data on this and unless someone is tested before and after changes in their astigmatism on how much of it is corneal and how much is lenticular I don’t think it can be said with certainty which is the main cause, I recall reading that the lens usually mimics the axis of the cornea, probably to maintain balance, though as a whole I don’t understand why this is a compensatory adaption as it doesn’t quite offer any advantage, maybe it lessens strain on the tissues and overall anatomy? though it ends up costing visual acuity.

Interesting that based on this it’s almost the opposite of what’s expected, though perhaps there’s a consistent downwards gaze? based on Forrest’s theory in case of a persistent head tilt the axis goes in the direction of the stress, that matches with your 80­° axes in both eyes, though it also can’t be assumed that the theory holds true for everyone either way.

My experience is close to yours, I have a transient ghosting appearing on top, it appears when I’m more tired so I see it later in the day, I doubt it’s ciliary spasm but I can’t be sure, I haven’t gotten anything I can call an actual ciliary spasm since I started EM.

Have you read Orfield’s paper on her journey by any chance? she mentioned that a neck forward chin up posture which is common in myopes leads to tension around the neck and causes accomodative spasm to happen more easily, I realized the back of my neck feels tense in that posture but when I try and hold my neck in a more natural posture it feels more relaxed, I haven’t been trying to be mindful of this long enough but so far I feel like my eyes don’t really get tired when I remember to hold my neck straight and try to keep it relaxed, still do take breaks every hour at worst anyway though.

Also since your axes are extorted do you find yourself often looking slightly down on tasks you regularly do? I’ve been observing my habits based on that and while I’m not 100% certain yet it seems like I don’t center my gaze on the task at hand but rather often look down on it and if I’m not holding my neck straight then I’ll usually end up looking slightly down on the task, apparently that can cause excess intorsion as you converge slightly downwards and the compensation is for the axes to be extorted to reduce stress.

When you realize this it becomes apparent that the problem isn’t just the poor eye habits but many other possible factors related to it, when I was getting therapy for my spinal issues my chiropractor told me once that poor neck posture can hinder eyesight as well though I didn’t quite pay enough attention to that part nor did I ask more, but now it makes sense to me.

This sounds familiar to me. Since I read a lot, I look down a lot, too. But this is a rabbit hole I am not interested in going down, as I don’t plan to change my reading habit. Since not all people who have this posture develop astigmatism, I plan to be one of those who recover from it without changing it either. I use emotions and thoughts to relax, mostly, as I literally don’t have the mental energy to pay attention to my posture at all times. But that’s definitely an interesting point!

It’s definitely not the only cause, at least I highly doubt it is, as you said not everyone who has this posture develops astigmatism, I think prolonged periods where the eyes are stuck in a particular angle or a limited range is what causes it, in a similar way to myopia where prolonged periods of near work is a main culprit.
I’m okay with changing some habits, for now my belief is that habits were the main cause for mine so if that’s true addressing the habits should start inducing changes over time, it’s been really stubborn so far.

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This is what I see with my uncorrected left eye with about -1.50 D of astigmatism at 110 degrees. The right eye has a more modest number of overlaps with about -.50D of astigmatism at 50 degrees. (Both these are my own measurements.)


On printed text it manifests as a single ghost image for either eye, but at very different distances (about a 4D spherical diopter gap) Uncorrected monocular on the 6m Snellen it is a smeary mess, as for the moon, for the left eye, and single ghosting for the right eye. With binocular uncorrected on the Snellen there is no significant ghosting or smearing, just general blur. With uncorrected binocular viewing of the moon, I see the degree of distortion of the right eye only. There is some supression/compensation going on in the visual cortex.

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