The influence of posterior corneal surface astigmatism on residual astigmatism

  • Jonathan M. Royston

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


It has often been found that corneal astigmatism exceeds the amount exhibited by the eye as a whole. This difference is usually referred to as residual astigmatism. Scrutiny of the studies of corneal astigmatismreveal that what has actually been measured is the astigmatic contributionof the anterior corneal surface alone. This anterior surface is easily measured whereas measurement of the posterior corneal surface is much more difficult.
A method was therefore developed to measure the radius and toricity of the posterior corneal surface. The method relies upon photography of the first and second Purkinje images in three fixed meridians. Keratometry, comparison of anterior and posterior corneal Purkinje images and pachometricdata were applied to three meridional analysis equations, allowing the posterior corneal surface to be described in sphero-cylindrical form.
Measurements were taken from 80 healthy subjects from two distinct age groups. The first consisted of 60 young subjects, mean age 22.04 years and the second consisted of 20 old subjects, mean age 74.64 years. The young group consisted of 28 myopes, 24 emmetropes and 8 hyperopes. The old group consisted of 6 myopes and 14 hyperopes. There was an equal number of males and females in each group. These groupings allowed the study of the effects of age, ametropia and gender on the posterior corneal toricity.
The effect of the posterior corneal surface on residual astigmatism was assessed and was found to cause an overall reduction. This reduction was due primarily to the posterior corneal surface being consistently steeper relative to the anterior surface in the vertical meridian compared to the horizontal meridian.
Date of AwardOct 1990
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDerek A. Barnes (Supervisor)


  • astigmatism
  • purkinje images
  • three meridional analysis
  • anterior corneal surface torcity
  • posterior corneal surface torcity

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