Purpose: To measure posterior corneal astigmatism (PCA) and investigate its influence on total corneal astigmatism (TCA) in eyes with keratoconus.
Methods: Keratometric astigmatism (KA), PCA, and TCA were investigated by means of a dual Scheimpflug analyzer in patients with keratoconus. Vector analysis was carried out with the Næser polar value method.
Results: We enrolled 119 eyes. PCA magnitude averaged 0.77 ± 0.43 diopters (D) and exceeded 0.50, 1.00, and 2.00 D in 73.9%, 21.8%, and 16.8% of eyes, respectively. PCA averaged 0.95 ± 0.48, 0.55 ± 0.28, and 0.70 ± 0.35 D in eyes with with-the-rule (WTR), against-the-rule (ATR), and oblique astigmatism. The steepest posterior meridian was oriented vertically (between 61 and 119 degrees) in 55.5% of eyes, thus generating ATR astigmatism. The difference between the location of the steepest meridian of KA and that of TCA was >10 degrees in 8.4% of eyes. On average, KA overestimated TCA in eyes with WTR astigmatism by 0.16 D and underestimated TCA in eyes with ATR astigmatism by 0.22 D. The PCA power oriented along the steeper anterior corneal meridian averaged -0.83 ± 0.40, -0.40 ± 0.37, and -0.53 ± 0.43 D for WTR, ATR, and obliquely astigmatic eyes, respectively. Linear regression disclosed a statistically significant correlation (P < 0.0001, r = 0.16) between the meridional powers of TCA and PCA.
Conclusions: In eyes with keratoconus, PCA displays large, variable values and is correlated to TCA. The influence of PCA on TCA cannot be disregarded when planning astigmatism correction by toric intraocular lenses.