Astigmatism Worse After Cataract Surgery - SightMD Skip to main content

April 05, 2024

By: John Mauro, DO

Astigmatism Worse After Cataract Surgery

Understanding Why Your Astigmatism May Worsen After Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is a highly successful procedure that restores clear vision for millions of individuals worldwide each year. However, some patients may notice a worsening of their astigmatism following cataract surgery, leading to concerns and frustration.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common refractive error caused by an irregular shape of the cornea or lens in the eye. Instead of being perfectly spherical like a basketball, the cornea or lens may have a more oval or football-like shape, resulting in blurred or distorted vision at all distances. While astigmatism can be present alongside cataracts, it may become more noticeable or exacerbated after cataract surgery.

Factors Contributing to Worsening Astigmatism After Cataract Surgery

Several factors can contribute to the worsening of astigmatism following cataract surgery, including:

  1. Pre-existing Astigmatism: Patients with pre-existing astigmatism may still experience residual astigmatism after cataract surgery, especially if the surgical plan does not address this refractive error adequately.
  2. Incision Placement: The location and size of the incision made during cataract surgery can influence corneal curvature and astigmatism. Improperly placed or larger incisions may induce astigmatism or exacerbate existing astigmatism.
  3. Intraocular Lens (IOL) Selection: The type of IOL implanted during cataract surgery can impact post-operative astigmatism. Toric IOLs are specifically designed to correct astigmatism, but the precise alignment and positioning of these lenses are crucial for optimal outcomes.
  4. Healing Process: The healing process after cataract surgery can also affect astigmatism outcomes. Factors such as corneal scarring, epithelial remodeling, and wound healing responses may contribute to changes in corneal shape and refractive error.

Managing Postoperative Astigmatism

While experiencing worsening astigmatism after cataract surgery can be disheartening, there are several strategies available to manage and address this issue:

Toric IOLs

For patients with significant pre-existing astigmatism, toric IOLs offer a tailored solution to correct astigmatism during cataract surgery. These specialized lenses are designed to reduce or eliminate astigmatism and improve overall visual outcomes.

Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRIs)

LRIs are small, precise incisions made at the periphery of the cornea to reshape its curvature and reduce astigmatism. This technique can be performed during cataract surgery or as a separate procedure to enhance visual results.

Refractive Laser Surgery

In cases where residual astigmatism persists despite other interventions, refractive laser surgery such as LASIK or PRK may be considered to fine-tune vision and correct remaining refractive errors.

Regular Follow-Up Care

Close monitoring and regular follow-up appointments with your ophthalmologist are essential for assessing visual outcomes, detecting any changes in astigmatism, and determining the need for additional interventions.

Contact SightMD Today

While worsening astigmatism after cataract surgery can be frustrating, it’s essential to remember that effective solutions are available to address this issue. By understanding the factors contributing to post-operative astigmatism and exploring appropriate treatment options, patients can achieve clearer vision and improved quality of life following cataract surgery.

If you’re experiencing worsening astigmatism or have concerns about your vision after cataract surgery, schedule a consultation with the experienced ophthalmologists at SightMD. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized care and innovative solutions to help you achieve optimal visual outcomes and regain clear, crisp vision.