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What is an Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is an eye condition that affects more than 50% of the population. In fact, the majority of patients undergoing cataract surgery today have measurable levels of astigmatism. Corneal astigmatism is simply a condition that causes blurred or double vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea, the outer ‘windshield’ part of the eye where light first passes through. In patients who do NOT have astigmatism, their cornea is regular and round as in the shape of a doorknob or hemisphere. In patients who HAVE astigmatism, their corneas are more oval-shaped like the back surface of a spoon where there is a difference in the steepness in each direction. This irregular shape causes the light rays to not properly focus on the retina, or back portion of the eye. Because these light rays are skewed, people with astigmatism need prescription glasses or special contact lenses to correct this condition.
Treatments for Astigmatism in Cataract Patients
Toric intraocular lenses (IOLs) are now available that can permanently correct astigmatism. These lenses are designed with a specific shape that counterbalances the irregularity that causes the astigmatism in the first place. Thanks to their unique design, Toric IOLs are designed to refocus light rays as they pass through the lens and position them properly and in focus on the retina. The result is correction of your astigmatism and complete restoration of your distance vision.
Customized Treatment Plan to Match Your Lifestyle
Based on the vision correction option you and your surgeon choose, your surgeon will customize a treatment plan for you to achieve the visual outcome you desire.
For patients who elect one of our astigmatism-correcting options prior to cataract surgery, you will undergo a full vision analysis at Berkeley Eye Center. Our doctors will then customize a treatment plan that may include a Toric IOL engineered to provide you with superior vision. Your surgical plan may also incorporate corneal relaxing incisions and/or laser cataract surgery to treat your astigmatism. These procedures are designed to eliminate any astigmatism and give you clear distance vision. The vast majority of patients do not need to wear glasses for most normal activities requiring distance vision after this procedure, but you may need glasses for near tasks.
If you choose to treat your near vision as well during cataract surgery, your surgeon can discuss with you the options and customize a treatment plan for your needs and desires.
To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 713-526-1600 or schedule online.