Purpose: To describe a method for optimizing the treatment of astigmatism using vector analysis of both refractive and corneal topographic values.
Setting: Cheltenham Eye Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
Methods: This study evaluated a method of vector analysis for planning surgery that uses both preoperative topographic and refractive values and determined how to select the relative treatment emphasis to be given to each. In addition, the significance of the phenomenon of ocular residual astigmatism (ORA) was explored. Its presence provides an inherent limitation on eliminating astigmatism from the eye's optical system.
Results: Various comparisons of preoperative and ORA values are plotted in a series of 100 excimer laser photoastigmatic refractive keratectomy patients. These ORA values are equivalent to the expected corneal astigmatism resulting from surgery where treatment is performed by refractive astigmatism values alone. A theoretical example is given in which the corneal astigmatism remaining from surgery is reduced by giving less emphasis to completely eliminating refractive astigmatism and consequently greater emphasis to completely eliminating topographic astigmatism.
Conclusion: Using vectors in astigmatism surgery enables the incorporation of topography and refractive values into the surgical plan. This would achieve a greater reduction in corneal astigmatism and potentially a better visual outcome than using refractive astigmatism values alone.