What is Astigmatism?
When a patient has cataract surgery with intraocular lens implant, the implant corrects the near or far sightedness but not the astigmatism. An astigmatism is a condition where the eye is shaped more like a football than a baseball with different curves at different angles. This means that there is no single point of focus, but rather multiple focal points. With cataract surgery and lens implant surgery, most people without astigmatism will see reasonably well after surgery in the distance even without glasses. Glasses will be needed for near vision no matter what (unless a multifocal lens is chosen). This is not true for patients with astigmatism. ASTIGMATISM PATIENTS will need glasses after surgery for distance and near if the astigmatism is not corrected. The astigmatism can be corrected in one of two ways:
1. LRI – Limbal Relaxing Incisions are incisions in the cornea which reduce or eliminate the astigmatism
2. Toric lens implants are lens implants which correct astigmatism internally-the correction being in the lens implant itself.
Either method will likely allow patients with astigmatism to see in the DISTANCE without glasses, just like those patients without astigmatism (or near if a multifocal implant is used). There are added, out-of-pocket costs for this procedure.