Limbal Relaxing Incisions
Limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) are a minimally invasive corneal surgical procedure that is used to treat low to moderate degrees of astigmatism. LRIs are often performed during cataract surgery to reduce the effects of astigmatism, providing cataract patients with clearer vision and a reduced or eliminated need for glasses or contact lenses.
LRIs are tiny incisions made around the edge of the cornea, called the limbus. When the limbus is cut or relaxed, the steep curvature of the cornea becomes more rounded, improving the way the eye focuses light. Compared to other procedures performed to correct astigmatism, such as astigmatic keratotomy, LRIs heal faster and cause fewer side effects.
Candidates for Limbal Relaxing Incisions
This procedure is ideal for patients with the following concerns:
- Reducing the need for glasses or contact lenses
It is important for patients to be in good overall health and to have realistic expectations for the surgery before undergoing the procedure. While most patients experience significant improvements to their vision after a LRI, some may still require vision correction in the form of glasses or contacts.
The Limbal Relaxing Incision Procedure
During the LRI procedure, the eyes are first cleaned and anesthetic drops are applied to numb the area. An eyelid holder is placed to prevent patients from blinking and to ensure precise placement of the incisions during the procedure. The surgeon will mark the locations on the limbus for incision based on the patient’s prescription, age and amount of vision correction needed. The tiny, arc-shaped incisions are then made into the limbus where marked. Antibiotic drops are administered to the area and the eye holder will be removed.
The LRI procedure takes about five minutes to perform, although patients can expect to be in the recovery room for about an hour.
Recovery from Limbal Relaxing Incisions
After the LRI procedure, you will receive additional eye drops and shields to protect the eyes. Any post-operative discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Some patients may also experience the following post-operative symptoms for a few days after the procedure:
- Sensitivity to light
- Tearing of the eyes
- Swelling in the eyes
Most patients will be able to return to work and other regular activities the next day after surgery. Vision will likely improve significantly within the first day, although some patients may experience blurry vision for several weeks after the procedure.
Risks of Limbal Relaxing Incisions
The LRI procedure is considered safe for most patients with little to no risk of major complications. Some patients may not achieve their desired results from this procedure and may require additional surgery. It is important to discuss the details, benefits and risks of this procedure with the surgeon before undergoing surgery. The surgeon will address any questions or concerns the patient may have to ensure that limbal relaxing incisions are the right choice for them.