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Posterior corneal astigmatism: a review article

Authors Mohammadi SF, Khorrami-Nejad M, Hamidirad M

Received 1 April 2019

Accepted for publication 29 July 2019

Published 12 August 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 85—96

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTO.S210721

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Mr Simon Berry


Seyed-Farzad Mohammadi,1 Masoud Khorrami-Nejad,1,2 Moein Hamidirad2

1Translational Ophthalmology Research Center, Farabi Eye Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; 2School of Rehabilitation, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Abstract: Most human eyes show at least a small degree of corneal astigmatism and it can arise from both surfaces of the cornea. The shape of the anterior corneal surface provides no definitive basis for knowing the toricity of the posterior surface. In the previous studies, average astigmatism of the posterior corneal surface was −0.26 to −0.78 diopter. The radius of the posterior corneal surface is less than the radius of the anterior corneal surface. Most studies have found a clear correlation between the anterior and posterior corneal asphericities and the asphericity of the posterior surface is independent of the vertex radius of curvature, refractive error and gender. In contrast to the anterior corneal surface, the asphericity of the posterior corneal surface varies significantly between meridians. The anterior and posterior corneal surface would have approximately parallel principal meridians and both of these surfaces are often flatter in the horizontal meridian than the vertical one. This is especially true in the higher degrees of corneal astigmatism, and then about 10% of any anterior corneal astigmatism is neutralized by an astigmatism arising from the posterior corneal surface. Although the second corneal surface only contributes to about 10% of the total refractive power of the eye, a precise knowledge of its morphology is needed for the correct diagnosis and monitoring the corneal diseases or the surgical interventions and in many eyes neglecting the posterior corneal surface measurement may lead to significant deviations from the corneal astigmatism estimation. In this article, we have reviewed the shape and the toricity of the posterior corneal surface and also the effect of age on it. We investigated the contribution of posterior corneal astigmatism to the total corneal astigmatism and evaluated the accuracy of corneal astigmatism estimation by neglecting the posterior corneal surface measurement.

Keywords: cornea, posterior corneal astigmatism, corneal toricity

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