We report on our investigation into astigmatism in 40 eyes following a corneal cataract incision closed with a continuous 10/0 nylon monofilament suture (Ethilon). Immediately after surgery there was astigmatism caused by the nylon suture (suture-induced astigmatism), its severity depending on the tightness of the suture. It ranged from 1 to 10-5 dioptres, the mean value 4-09 dioptres with a standard deviation of +/-2-5. Removing the nylon suture eliminated this astigmatism and within a few weeks the corneal astigmatism correction in 48% of eyes returned to the preoperative level. In 80% of eyes the difference between the final postoperative corneal astigmatism (4 months after removing the continuous suture) and the preoperative astigmatism was 0-75 dioptres or less and the maximum change was 1-5 dioptres. In 40% of eyes the axis of the cylinder changed from a horizontal to an oblique axis but did not change from a with- to against-the-rule axis. The degree of astigmatism remained constant while the suture was in place and in 50% of eyes was equal to or less than 3 dioptres. The mean of the spherical equivalents was 11-31 dioptres with a standard deviation of +/-1-25. A spectacle correction 14 days after operation prescribed either as the mean spherical equivalent (11-50 dioptres) or according to the patient's refraction will give satisfactory vision until the suture is removed 4 months after operation. The degree of astigmatism following a corneal section and continuous nylon suture compares very favourably with astigmatism following other suturing techniques for cataract.
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