Twitter | @UnusualFacts6, Reddit

It Turns Out This Viral Pic Doesn't Actually Show What Astigmatism Looks Like

There's a chance that you recently saw a tweet that showed the trials of driving at night for those with astigmatism. To do this, it showed a picture filled with light streaks and one without them to compare what it's like to see the world with astigmatism and what it's like to see without it.

There's also a chance that you saw it on this very website, because I had previously talked about it and reflected on my own experiences leading up to my first pair of glasses.

However, to my embarrassment, I've recently found out that these pictures didn't accurately reflect what they were supposed to. And so, I would like apologize for any confusion caused and set the record straight on what's really going on.

When Twitter user @UnusualFacts6 posted this tweet, they weren't entirely wrong, but they weren't entirely correct.

Their description of astigmatism and how it works is accurate, but as Dr. Samuel D. Pierce of the American Optometric Association told Buzzfeed News, the example used isn't the best representation of what astigmatism actually looks like.

This is likely why the post came as such a shock to other users.

Something that they had just written off as normal, if annoying, supposedly revealed something about how their eyes worked all along.

That can be pretty mind-blowing.

And what made this even easier to believe is the fact that @UnusualFacts6 has astigmatism themselves.

However, based on what Dr. Pierce said, it seems that this person's astigmatism is coincidental to what they're seeing here rather than the reason for it.

So if anyone looked at those photos and said, "I thought this was normal," it turns out they were actually right.

What we were looking at all along wasn't the blurring effect of astigmatism, but rather simple glare.

Reddit | [deleted]

As in, a simple glare to the type we might get from the sun during certain times of day.

As Dr. Pierce told Buzzfeed News, cataracts or dirty contacts could also contribute to seeing the world this way, but a photo like this alone doesn't indicate anything specific.

And Dr. Pierce has reason to be confident about his assessment of those photos.

Reddit | mcfurrball

After all, not only does he come across it often as an optometrist, but he actually has astigmatism himself.

So naturally, this would raise a particular question: If astigmatism doesn't look like @UnusualFacts6's photos, what does it look like?

There are more than one type of astigmatism, but the photos in another person's tweet can be used more effectively to break them down.

Pierce also used this example of a full moon and said that astigmatism can make it appear that it has "little blurry ghost moons" around it.

According to Dr. Pierce, the position of those "ghosts" depends on the type of astigmatism a person has.

Reddit | kekembas17

What he describes as "with-the-rule astigmatism" would show the ghost moons appearing above and below the real one, while "against-the-rule astigmatism" shows them on either side of it.

With oblique astigmatism, they appear diagonally, specifically as if they were at 10 and four o' clock on a watch.

Of course, even if this describes how you see the world, the only way to be sure you have astigmatism is with an eye exam.

Reddit | TwinPurpleEagle

And if anyone was worried they had the condition after seeing @UnusualFacts6's photos, I'm sorry for any stress my passing those photos along caused.

We were just seeing some glare.

h/t: Buzzfeed News