Astigmatism is an irregularity in the shape of the cornea. There are degrees of astigmatism that may cause blurred vision even after the cataract surgery has been performed. Low to moderate astigmatism may be corrected by Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI) or a Toric IOL.
In LRI, incisions are made at the opposite edges of the cornea, following the curve of the iris, allowing the cornea to become more rounded when it heals. Because the incisions are outside of the field of view, they do not cause glare and other visual effects that result from other corneal surgeries like Radial Keratotomy.
LRIs are often combined with other surgical and laser vision correction procedures and cataract surgery.
It is possible that with LRI astigmatism may remain, requiring glasses for clearest vision. As with any incision, there is a small risk of infection or hemorrhage, which rarely could affect the vision. If there is full thickness incision, it may be necessary to place a suture to achieve a safe closure. Other risks of cataract surgery remain the same. As with any change of your eye's focus, there will be a period of adjustment to new vision and you may still wish to wear glasses or contacts to achieve your best vision.
(At this time most insurances do not cover the cost of LRI and you will be responsible for this additional cost. A toric IntraOcular lens contains both spherical and astigmatic correction. Your surgeon will advise you as to the best form of astigmatic correction for your situation.)