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Cataract and Astigmatism: Fix both with a toric IOL
- Posted on: Feb 15 2018
People who have cataracts also have the option to correct astigmatism at the time of cataract surgery. These lenses, known as toric lenses, reduce or eliminate the need for glasses after a cataract procedure and now meet the needs of more patients than ever before.
A toric lens replaces the natural lens similar to how a standard intraocular lens (IOL) is used in regular cataract surgery, but a toric lens also simultaneously corrects for astigmatism. Toric lenses have varying powers in different areas of the lens that correct for the asymmetry in the eye (astigmatism). The technology improves upon less predictable procedures and since the eye’s prescription is in the lens, reliance on other vision correction is vastly reduced. There is zero downside to choosing this type of lens, other than an increase in cost.
There is little difference in the work-up before surgery when choosing a toric lens. Your surgeon will perform a specific battery of measurements to determine your cornea’s specific shape and topography. This information helps your surgeon determine the correct power and orientation of the new toric lens. During surgery your surgeon will use predetermined markers to properly place the lens in your eye.
The result is clearer vision due to the removal of the cataract lens, as well as less reliance on glasses (or contacts) because of the prescription power of the toric lens. Patients who choose a toric lens will see better every minute for the rest of their lives. Following cataract surgery with a standard lens, an eye exam is needed for new a new glasses or contacts prescription.
Studies have shown that toric IOLs have a high degree of success in reducing astigmatism, leaving many patients seeing clearer without glasses. Patients also experience high degrees of satisfaction following surgery with these implants despite chance of needing low-power reader glasses or other such aids.
What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is an irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. Perfect eyes have a circular shape that allows light to properly focus on the retina. People with astigmatism have a football shape to their eyes, which distorts light and creates blurred vision. Astigmatism is commonly and easily corrected with glasses or contacts after cataract surgery for patients who choose a standard IOL.
What is a cataract?
A cataract develops naturally as we age. The clear natural lens gets cloudy as proteins in the eye clump together, resulting in an opaque lens and distorted vision. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the clouded natural lens and the insertion of a new artificial one. This type of surgery is among the most common and safest procedures performed worldwide.
While Medicare covers standard cataract surgery, toric lenses are not covered and are an out-of-pocket expense. For more information or to answer your questions about toric lenses, contact our office at 920 499-3102.