I have astigmatism? What is this and can this be corrected during cataract surgery?
Astigmatism is a type of refractive error that occurs in combination with either long or short-sightedness and is common at all ages. It occurs mostly when the cornea at the front of the eye has an irregular slightly oval shape rather than being more spherical. This results in objects at any distance appearing distorted or skewed.
Normally, glasses fitted with special toric lenses or contact lenses are required to obtain good vision. When cataract surgery is performed, a standard monofocal lens will not correct significant astigmatism. You will therefore still have some blurred vision, and will always require toric spectacles to see clearly at any distance.
Cataract surgery provides the ideal opportunity to correct significant regular astigmatism by the implantation of astigmatism-correcting toric lenses, allowing the light to be properly focussed on the retina. Monofocal toric lenses will allow you to see clearly in the distance without spectacles, whilst multifocal toric lenses will allow you to see clearly for all distances in most cases with any need for bothersome spectacles.