All About Limbal Relaxing Incisions

Man holding glasses to his faceIf you have cataracts and astigmatism, limbal relaxing incisions (LRI) may be used to treat your astigmatism during your cataract surgery.

LRI are the most common surgical technique used to correct minor astigmatism as part of cataract surgery. Astigmatism is an eye condition in which the shape of the cornea or lens of the eye is abnormally curved. Due to the irregular curvature, light does not hit the eye in such a way that it is properly focused on the retina and both distance and close range vision is affected.

Symptoms of astigmatism include blurry vision, eyestrain, headaches and squinting to see clearly. Some people may have astigmatism, as well as another refractive error, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

The LRI procedure involves making small incisions at the opposite edges of the cornea, causing a slight flattening in that direction. This can be done manually or with the femtosecond laser. These incisions are made outside the field of view, so they do not affect one’s vision as other corneal surgeries, such as radial keratotomy, might.

LRI are simpler and less expensive than laser surgery such as LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy, and good results are not dependent on a highly precise location or the length of the incisions. If all of the astigmatism is not corrected, a later surgery to extend the incisions may be performed. Recovery from LRI is typically quick and painless, though the patient may experience some discomfort.

If you have astigmatism and cataracts, a consultation with your eye doctor is necessary to determine whether limbal relaxing incisions or another treatment option is best for you. If you have mild to moderate astigmatism, eyeglasses or toric contact lenses may be recommended to treat your astigmatism instead of LRI.

Contact Key-Whitman to schedule a free consultation to determine if you are a candidate for LRI to correct astigmatism.