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What is astigmatism?

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Astigmatism is a common condition of the eye that causes blurred vision and other symptoms, according to Medical News Today; it is usually present at birth and is congenital, although it can develop later on in life. When a person has astigmatism, the cornea of the eye is not curved correctly; often, the area is steeper than normal, but usually it is flatter than the it should be. Because of these irregularities in the corneal area, when light enters the eye, images are blurred since the eye does not focus correctly.

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The exact cause of astigmatism is unknown. Those with undetected astigmatism often complain of blurred vision and may associate it with eye strain or being tired. If symptoms are experienced increasingly, an eye exam can be used to rule out astigmatism as a cause, notes WebMD.

The diagnosis of astigmatism occurs via an eye exam. Treatment of some instances of astigmatism may require only eyeglasses, particularly when farsightedness or nearsightedness are also present. Irregular astigmatism, although not common, can be treated through the use of rigid gas-permeable contact lenses or via the use of corneal procedures, including refractive surgery. This type of surgery is used to change the cornea's shape. It is sometimes completed using laser surgery techniques, notes WebMD.

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