Astigmatism is a condition in which light rays are not properly focused on the retina to provide a clear visual image. Astigmatism can occur in several areas in the eye, but typically the cornea and the lens cause the highest degrees of astigmatism. The cornea is irregularly shaped and rather than being smooth and spherical like a basketball, the cornea is shaped in an oblong manner such as that of a football. Because of this irregularity, light rays are scattered and do not focus precisely on the retina. Images appear distorted and unclear. Astigmatism can be corrected via glasses, contact lenses, LASIK, or cataract surgery. If astigmatism is a condition which affects your eye, there are many new and exciting ways to correct this condition.
During cataract surgery, Dr. Cherry can perform a limbal relaxing incision which relaxes and reduces astigmatism. By placing a small arcuate incision in the area of irregularity, the cornea is re-shaped and images become more focused to provide better vision without the aid of glasses or contact lenses. The limbal relaxing incision takes just a few seconds to create and can lead to improved uncorrected visual acuity after your cataract procedure.
For higher degrees of astigmatism, a toric intraocular lens can be inserted at the time of your cataract procedure to correct pre-existing astigmatism. Prior to the procedure, the cornea is measured with advanced mapping technology to elucidate the areas of highest astigmatism. The toric lens is then aligned inside the capsular bag to greatly reduce or eliminate any corneal astigmatism. Innovation in intraocular lens technology has allowed us to correct extremely high levels of astigmatism and provide exceptional visual clarity to people who have been dependent on spectacles for their entire lives!