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Correction of pre-existing astigmatism during cataract surgery: comparison between the effects of opposite clear corneal incisions and a single clear corneal incision



Opposite clear corneal incisions (OCCIs) have been reported to reduce pre-existing astigmatism (PEA) during cataract surgery. Our goal was to evaluate the effect of OCCIs on correcting PEA in cataract surgery.


Non-randomized prospective study. Thirty-four patients with PEA of greater than 1.5 diopters (D) underwent clear cornea phacoemulsification cataract extraction with 3.2-mm OCCIs (OCCI group). The control group consisted of 23 successive patients with PEA <1.5 D who underwent cataract extraction without OCCI. Best-corrected visual acuity, keratometry and refraction were recorded for all patients pre-operatively and post-operatively.


Using keratometric findings, mean astigmatism correction was 1.3 D (±0.9 SD; decreased from 2.6 D pre-operatively to 1.4 D post-operatively) in the OCCI group but only 0.4 D in the control group (P<0.005), 8 months post-operatively. Vector analysis of astigmatism correction showed greater change for OCCI patients (1.8 D vs 1.0 D, P=0.002). Using the Holladay method for calculating surgically induced refractive change (SIRC), the OCCI group showed a higher value of SIRC (−1.6 D vs −0.97 D), but this was not statistically significant. The OCCI patients showed a greater and significant change in refraction spherical equivalent than the controls. No complications related to OCCI or cataract surgery occurred during the follow-up period.


Opposite clear cornea incision seems to be a simple, predictable, safe and effective procedure in reducing pre-existing corneal astigmatism in cataract surgery. It has an enhanced effect in correcting astigmatism compared to a single clear cornea incision when using keratometric findings value but not when using refractive data. Future studies are needed to document the long-term effect of OCCI and to evaluate the correlation between incisions of different size and astigmatism correction.

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The authors wish to thank Elie Dahan, MD, for teaching and assistance in analyzing the data and for critical reading of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Guy J. Ben Simon.

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Ben Simon, G.J., Desatnik, H. Correction of pre-existing astigmatism during cataract surgery: comparison between the effects of opposite clear corneal incisions and a single clear corneal incision. Graefe's Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 243, 321–326 (2005).

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