Astigmatism Correction at Time of Cataract Surgery

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Astigmatism Correction at time of Cataract Surgery-Seems like HD!

Astigmatism is quite prevalent in the general population.  It can be minor, less than 0.75 diopters or greater.  Some people can tolerate large amounts of astigmatism, but most of us don't.  It can be corrected with glasses, special contacts called toric contacts, and surgery.  In the realm of surgery the ophthalmologist has several tools to tackle this problem. 

We can make incisions on the cornea, limbal relaxing incisions or penetrating incision, peripheral limbal relaxing incisions.  These are effective for low levels of astigmatism but not always predictable or lasting. 

We can use the excimer laser to perform PRK or surface ablations or Lasik.  Both these procedures are more predictable but also are more costly and carry a different set of risks. 

Within the past few years, toric intraocular lens have become available, which we use to replace the natural lens that became a cataract.  This is a great advance, since prior to this lens a person with any significant amount of astigmatism would have to wear some type of optical correction to see clearly at distance or undergo another surgical procedure.  Not only are we correcting the astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery but the patients are describing their vision as being in HD.

Guest Blogger: Arturo E. Betancourt, M.D., F.A.C.S., Ophthalmologist with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center