Refractive, anterior corneal and internal astigmatism in the pseudophakic eye

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ABSTRACT.Purpose:To evaluate the correlation between refractive astigmatism (RA) and anterior corneal astigmatism (ACA), and determine the internal astigmatism (IA) in 184 pseudophakic eyes.Methods:The study was a prospective non-masked single-centre study. Patients were examined 8 weeks after phacoemulsification with implantation of aspheric one-piece monofocal IOLs. Examination included autokeratometry and subjective refraction. All refractive data were converted to the corneal plane. The corneal refractive index, taken to be 1.376, was used to estimate the ACA. All astigmatisms were converted to net curvital and net torsional powers with the steeper corneal plane as the reference meridian. Curvital power is the force acting along a given meridian, and torsion is the power twisting the astigmatic direction out of that plane. The internal astigmatism (IA) was calculated as the difference between RA and ACA.Results:For curvital powers, the refractive astigmatism (KP(Φ)RA) could be described as a function of anterior corneal astigmatic magnitude (KP(Φ)ACA) and direction α by the multiple linear regression equation: KP(Φ)RA = −0.09 + 0.61*KP(Φ)ACA + 0.33*cos2α, (r2 = 0.59, p < 0.0001). The average internal astigmatism amounted to 0.47 D inclined 92° relative to the steeper anterior corneal meridian. The magnitude of internal astigmatism depended on the angle α of the steeper anterior corneal meridian, averaging 0.86 D at 91° for with-the-rule, 0.37 D at 95° for oblique and 0.17 D at 97° for against-the-rule corneal astigmatisms.Conclusions:The internal astigmatism varies as a function of the direction of the anterior steeper corneal meridian. In patient candidates to surgical correction of astigmatism, measuring only the curvature of the anterior corneal surface and neglecting that of the posterior corneal surface can lead to inaccurate evaluation of total corneal astigmatism.

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