Astigmatism no longer limits your choices for great refractive and surgical outcomes
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea (the front window covering of the eye) is oval rather than round. This results in blurred vision and ghost images around objects. In order for light to focus precisely, the cornea needs to be as round as possible. Astigmatism may be traditionally treated with glasses, gas permeable contacts, or toric soft contact lenses. However, even if you plan on wearing glasses after surgery, you will benefit from surgical astigmatism reduction as your glasses will have less edge thickness and peripheral distortion. If you desire the most freedom from glasses at any distance, it is imperative that your astigmatism be surgically corrected.
Video: Options for Cataract Patients
Astigmatism can be corrected during cataract surgery in two ways. For low levels of astigmatism, it's common to do a limbal-relaxing excision during the cataract procedure. This relaxes tension around the cornea and allows it to expand from an oval into a circle. For higher levels of astigmatism, a high-quality toric lens can be implanted. This lens implant corrects astigmatism very accurately with a non-invasive procedure.
Surgical Correction of Astigmatism
Astigmatism can be corrected by three different surgical methods: Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRIs), Toric IOLs, and LASIK. In general, low astigmatism is corrected with a Monofocal IOL and LRI, and high astigmatism is corrected with a Toric IOL and possibly LRI or LASIK. Insurance DOES NOT cover the cost of astigmatism surgery.
Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI)
LRI is a procedure which corrects astigmatism by using incisions to relax the tension in the cornea causing it to be out of round. Incisions are placed near the junction of the white and colored parts of the eye (the limbus) and effectively convert an oval to a circle, thereby correcting the astigmatism. LRI is one of several procedures Dr. Cavanaugh can combine with cataract surgery as part of a comprehensive vision restoration plan.
Toric Lens Implants
The Toric IOL has your astigmatism power incorporated into the lens optic and provides the most precise way to reduce or eliminate astigmatism at the same time it corrects cataracts. This IOL is for cataract and refractive lens patients with pre-existing astigmatism who want spectacle reduction for distance vision or a reduction in the thickness of glasses. The Toric IOL is currently offered only as a monofocal IOL and cannot correct presbyopia, so patients will still need reading glasses for near work.
LASIK for Astigmatism
Laser-assisted-in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a safe and effective refractive laser surgical procedure which reshapes the cornea and eliminates nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It is sometimes used to augment astigmatism correction of a Toric IOL in cases of severe astigmatism.
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