August 15, 2019

How Does Cataract Surgery Correct Astigmatism?


Read the full NZ Herald article here

If you have recently developed cataracts, chances are you’ve already heard about intraocular lens (IOL) implants, as they’re the most common method of overcoming cloudy vision. 

However, did you know that IOLs can also help you deal with astigmatism? If you have both problems, you can typically deal with both problems during the same surgical procedure! Read on to find out more.

Astigmatism vs Cataracts

First of all, let’s break down the differences between these two common sight impairments.

Cataract formation is a natural part of aging. As s we get older, the lenses in our eyes become cloudy, and the treatment that replaces these lenses has been practised for a very long time. Currently, cataract surgery is the most performed procedure in the western medical world. 

Astigmatism is slightly different. Rather than cloudy vision, astigmatism is an issue with the focusing of light within the eye, so it causes blurriness. This is in turn caused by eyes that are not perfectly round. When you have astigmatism, your eyes are more egg or football-shaped than spherical, and this causes light to bend into the wrong location inside your eye. The most common treatment for astigmatism is glasses or contacts, but you can permanently deal with it during cataract surgery too.

Toric Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

As part of an eye lens replacement procedure toric lenses are a premium lens that doubles as a fix for astigmatism – somewhat like a permanent contact lens. Essentially, they alter the way light refracts through your eye, accounting for its non-spherical shape. 

Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI)

Sometimes, your eye doctor will be able to correct the parts of your eye which are causing astigmatism, using tactfully placed incisions to help the eye go back to its normal, spherical shape. These are called limbal relaxing incisions, or LRI. A doctor may make these incisions along with a toric lens, or instead of it. 

LRI vary in effectiveness, as they depend on how strong your astigmatism is. Often, they can completely cure it, but it’s possible that follow-up work might need to be carried out with laser technology such as LASIK

Have more questions?

If you want to know more about this, you can get a tailored assessment from the team here at Re:Vision! Contact us today to find out if you’re a candidate for cataract surgery and live life fully with great vision!

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