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Is LASIK for Astigmatism Safe after Cataract Surgery?

Posted May 28 2011 7:45am


Cataract surgery is a well known and popular procedure for older patients who suffer from vision loss after cataracts. Those familiar with LASIK surgery know that it is possible to have cataracts after LASIK. What some don’t know is if LASIK is possible aftercataract surgery Las Vegaseye doctors say that it is possible.

LASIK after Cataract Surgery to correct astigmatism is an option for those people who have residual astigmatism after their Cataract operation. Your current prescription indicates that you have preexisting astigmatism along with presbyopia-a common condition whereby the crystalline lens loses its ability to change focus causing you to have difficulty with near vision. It is possible to have a monofocal lens implant and NOT correct the preexisting astigmatism which would probably necessitate either wearing glasses or a second surgery-either LASIK Surgery or Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI) in order to see clearly at distance. A possible better solution might be to have a toric lens implant that would correct your astigmatism as part of the Cataract removal all in one procedure. However the decision to have a toric lens implant is based on several factors in addition to the prescription. If you are a good candidate for an astigmatism correcting lens implant (IOL) and you would not typically elect NOT to have one so as to require a second surgery such as LASIK. The best next step for you is to find a localLas Vegas Cataract Surgeonwho is also a topLas Vegas LASIK Surgeonwho will provide an examination that includes some additional measurements including evaluation of the shape of your cornea and help you determine what the best options might be for you.

Astigmatism and Toric IOL’s: Astigmatism is a very common imperfection of the eye and is present when the cornea is not spherical like a basketball. An asymmetrically curved object, such as a football, is said to have a “toric” shape. When a cornea (the front curved surface of the eye) is toric, light rays passing through it do not focus to a single point. The result is “astigmatism” (Greek: not to a point). Glasses and contacts can be made in toric shapes to compensate for the imperfect curvature of the cornea. Likewise, a toric IOL can be implanted instead of spherical one to neutralize astigmatism of the cornea, thereby providing better focusing without glasses than spherical IOLs. In this way, astigmatism can be reduced or eliminated at the time ofcataract surgery. If you have a significant degree of astigmatism, this IOL option may be discussed with you.

The use of a toric IOL necessitates additional specific measurements, planning, surgical execution and post-operative considerations not required when implanting traditional spherical IOLs. As Medicare and most other insurance companies do not provide payment for the surgical correction of astigmatism, patients are responsible for payment of these non-covered services. Toric IOLs, like toric eyeglasses, must be oriented correctly within the optical system of the eye to improve astigmatism maximally. It is possible, although unlikely, that a toric IOL may shift in position during the first few weeks following implantation, since it takes some time for the tissue inside the eye to firmly affix an IOL in position. In the case of significant IOL shift and reduction in vision, a second brief procedure to reposition the IOL may be necessary a few weeks after implantation.

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