Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Chemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Martin D. Perry

Second Advisor

Dr. Lori Hensley

Third Advisor

Mr. Glenn Good

Abstract

An estimated 1 in 6 people have a degree of the debilitating eye disorder known as astigmatism. A condition typically developed between the ages of birth and four years, corneal astigmatism is caused by irregular development of the cornea and results in blurred near and far vision. However, in addition to the onset of astigmatism early in life due to irregular development of the cornea, patients also commonly face the development of a condition known as a cataract, which is a condition common to adults over the age of 65 that is classified by a gradual expansion in opacity of the crystalline lens of the eye. Cataracts are the current leading cause of blindness worldwide and account for the majority of decreased visual acuity of patients in the United States. The concurrence of both the debilitating eye disorder astigmatism and the development of cataracts with age can lead to dramatic decreases in day-to-day function of the elderly if not combated by modern surgical practices. Cataract surgery has become one of the most common elective procedures across the globe; Medicare alone spent an estimated 60% of their funding on routine cataract surgery procedures during the 1990s. Up until the late twentieth century, nearly all cataract surgery patients had to get glasses following their operations. But with the exciting new development of a procedure called astigmatic keratotomy, there is the chance that astigmatic patients could see without compensating cylindrical lenses post surgery.

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