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Astigmatism Correction During Cataract Surgery

Allen W. Zieker Board-Certified Ophthalmologist & Cataract Surgeon at Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region

Q. I have an astigmatism and need cataract surgery. Can my astigmatism be corrected during surgery?

A. Astigmatism is when your cornea is shaped more like a football than a basketball. Many patients don’t know they even have astigmatism since the natural lens of the eye can occasionally counter-balance the blur of the curved cornea.

Pre-existing astigmatism can be corrected as part of your cataract surgery to improve your vision and help you be less dependent on glasses (or perhaps not even have to wear eyeglasses at all to see clearly at distance after your cataract surgery). If the astigmatism is significant and untreated, it can result
in blurred vision.

Pre-existing astigmatism can be corrected during your cataract surgery by two methods:

The first method is a procedure called Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI). LRI allows your cataract surgeon to place small peripheral incisions in the cornea to “relax” the astigmatism. Not all cataract surgeons perform the LRI procedure. If you do have an astigmatism and are interested in correcting it during cataract surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon if he can perform the LRI.

The second method for correcting the astigmatism is to replace the lens with a toric lens. The toric IOL contains refractive power, similar to that of a traditional IOL, but with an additional focusing power to neutralize the astigmatism.

For more information regarding cataract surgery, be sure to download our Cataract Surgery Guide.