Can I Have Astigmatism Corrected During Cataract Surgery?
Do you have cataracts that make it harder to see the things around you? Do you also suffer from refractive errors like astigmatism?
You may not realize that you can correct astigmatism while having cataract surgery. Correcting astigmatism during cataract surgery can give you clearer vision than before you had cataracts and reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts.
Keep reading to learn more about cataracts, astigmatism, and how to correct both during the same procedure.
What is a Cataract?
A cataract occurs when the natural lens in your eye becomes cloudy, impairing your ability to see clearly. Cataracts happen when proteins in your eyes break down because of the normal aging process and accumulate on your lens.
The lens ensures light focuses appropriately on the retina so you can see images clearly. When cataracts affect your lens, your vision becomes distorted.
Other signs of cataracts include:
- Blurry vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Poor night vision
- Double vision in one eye
- Colors appearing faded, muddy, or lacking in vibrance
- Frequent prescription changes
As cataracts advance, your vision becomes increasingly impaired. Cataracts eventually cause blindness without treatment.
Your eye doctor may recommend cataract surgery if you can no longer drive safely, read a menu, watch your favorite shows, or enjoy things you once loved due to cataracts. Removing cataracts will save your vision and improve your quality of life.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error that develops when your cornea is an irregular shape. The cornea should be more like a baseball, but with astigmatism, it’s more like the shape of a football.
The irregular corneal curvature affects both your up close and distance vision. Common symptoms of astigmatism include:
- Distorted or blurred vision
- Eye strain
- Difficulty driving at night
If you have astigmatism, you’ll likely wear glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.
Cataract Surgery with Monofocal IOLs
Many patients with cataracts also have astigmatism. In the past, intraocular lenses (IOLs) couldn’t fix this condition.
If patients needed to remove their cataracts and the surgeon used a standard monofocal IOL, they were often frustrated with their vision. These lenses couldn’t correct astigmatism and only improve your vision at one fixed point.
Because of that, some patients chose to have limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs). Limbal relaxing incisions are incisions placed on the outer edge of the cornea.
These incisions enable the cornea to relax, making it rounder and improving astigmatism. Even though this procedure is still performed today, it has its limitations.
Limbal relaxing incisions don’t entirely eliminate astigmatism in many patients with moderate to severe astigmatism.
These patients must continue wearing glasses or contacts after cataract surgery to compensate for remaining astigmatism. Luckily, toric lenses are specially designed IOLs that correct astigmatism during cataract surgery.
Toric IOLs are highly effective and have more predictable and stable outcomes compared to LRIs. Toric IOLs are also better able to address patients with moderate to severe amounts of astigmatism.
You’ll have your natural lens replaced with a toric lens during cataract surgery to address your astigmatism and cataracts. This lens implant corrects astigmatism as well as farsightedness or nearsightedness.
Toric intraocular lenses have different levels with multiple powers to fix astigmatism. Due to how these lenses work, they must be placed in your eye accurately to deliver the best visual results.
Laser systems such as ORA can ensure you have a toric IOL implanted in the correct position and place during cataract surgery.
Some of the benefits of a toric IOL include:
- Toric intraocular lenses significantly reduce or eliminate astigmatism
- A toric lens implant is a single-focus lens, meaning you’ll experience fewer visual side effects like halos
- No extra care during recovery is needed with a toric IOL
Cataract Surgery with a Toric IOL
Although astigmatism isn’t associated with cataracts, it can be reduced or eliminated during cataract surgery. Your surgeon maps out the shape of your cornea to determine the amount of correction needed for your eyes if you use glasses after having cataract surgery.
Mapping out the shape of your cornea allows your cataract surgeon to estimate the extent of correction necessary for a toric lens implant. Research shows no additional risk linked to a toric IOL implanted during cataract surgery.
PanOptix Trifocal Lens
One of the most popular premium lenses that can correct astigmatism during cataract surgery is the PanOptix trifocal IOL. Offered at Desert Vision Center, the PanOptix trifocal lens replaces your natural lens during cataract surgery.
The trifocal IOL lets you see clearly at all three distances, including up close, intermediate, and at a distance. These IOLs come in standard and toric designs to help patients with astigmatism attain improved vision.
Most patients don’t need their contacts or glasses following cataract surgery when they choose a PanOptix trifocal lens.
Laser Cataract Surgery with a PanOptix Trifocal Lens
You can have cataract surgery performed with a laser by undergoing laser cataract surgery to improve surgical precision. The LenSx laser effectively softens cataracts before removal and addresses astigmatism with accurate laser incisions.
After removing your natural lens, your cataract surgeon will insert the PanOptix trifocal lens. The lens has a unique shape that lines up with the shape of an astigmatic cornea to neutralize or reduce astigmatism.
Correct Astigmatism and Cataracts in One Fell Swoop
If cataracts and astigmatism are stopping you from living your best life, don’t wait any longer. Dr. Tokuhara from Desert Vision Center can restore your vision while correcting astigmatism during cataract surgery.
Do you think it may be time for cataract surgery? Schedule your cataract consultation at Desert Vision Center in Rancho Mirage, CA, today! Haven’t you lived with the debilitating effects of cataracts for long enough?