When you have a cataract, the lens of your eye becomes cloudy. Light cannot pass through the lens easily, and your vision becomes blurred. During cataract surgery, the ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) removes the cloudy, natural lens and replaces it with a clear, artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL helps your eye regain its focusing ability and allows you to see clearly again.
The most common type of IOL is the monofocal or fixed-focus IOL. The monofocal lens helps you attain clearer vision at one distance. Note that eyeglasses and contact lenses are still required in order for you to see clearly at all ranges of distance. This IOL does not correct for astigmatism.
The cornea of a normal eye is shaped like a basketball allowing images to be focused clearly.
The cornea of an astigmatic eye is curved unevenly, like a football. Images focus in front of and beyond the retina, causing both close and distant objects to appear blurry.
Different techniques are available during cataract surgery to help neutralize astigmatism. This gives you the best vision possible without glasses. The techniques most commonly used are implanting a special lens called a toric intraocular lens or limbal relaxing incisions (LRI).
It is important to remember that these techniques will give you the best possible vision without glasses at only one range. Most people choose to have their best corrected vision at distance and will need glasses to read. Conversely, some people choose to see most clearly at near without glasses and will need glasses for distance. Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) will discuss which option is best for you.
While most people obtain very good vision at the intended range, your ophthalmologist cannot guarantee that you will not need glasses for your best corrected vision.