Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRIs) are used to treat low to moderate degrees of astigmatism, and are commonly done at the time of cataract surgery. LRIs have the technical capacity to correct astigmatism up to 8 diopters, but are almost strictly reserved for the 0.5 to 3 (and in certain cases up to 4) diopters range.
LRIs are micro-incisions in the limbus, which allow the cornea to take on a more rounded shape during the healing process. Traditionally, these incisions were made with a blade, but can now be made with the LenSx Laser to provide even more controlled and predictable results.
LRIs can also be done as an independent procedure for individuals with astigmatism, but the LASIK procedure is usually preferred in these cases because the excimer laser provides a higher level of precision for a wider range of conditions.
What to Expect
The cornea is normally stable within 2 to 3 weeks, which is usually an indication that visual fluctuations have been resolved. LRIs go a long way to help reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts, but a near prescription might still be necessary to read and do close-up work.
Please note that Limbal Relaxing Incisions are considered a non-medical procedure and will not be covered by your medical or eye insurance, regardless of whether they were done with the LenSx laser or a blade.
LRI SURGERY DAY PREP:
Plan to arrive at the laser surgery center 30-60 minutes before your LRI procedure. After you have been checked in, someone from the team may offer you a sedative to help you relax.
Once seated, the area surrounding your eyes will be prepped/cleaned before a drape is placed around them. After that, numbing eye drops are applied…no injections or needles will be used.
Once your eyes are numb, an eyelid speculum will be used to prevent you from blinking during the procedure. At this point, you will be prepared for your surgery.
First, temporary impression marks will be made on the limbus where incisions will be made. These marks/incisions are placed based on your prescription, age, and degree of correction required. Then, very small arc-shaped incisions are made in your limbus. To complete the surgery, antibiotic drops are applied before the eyelid speculum and drapes are removed. The procedure itself normally only takes about 5 minutes, not including prep.
AFTER LRI SURGERY:
You will receive additional eye drops, and likely a shielded to protect the eye. Your vision will likely be a but blurry at first, so you will need to have someone at the surgery center to drive you home.
LRI SURGERY REVOCERY:
Patients should plan on relaxing for the rest of the day following their surgery. Also, some patients are going to experience mild discomfort, which can normally be remedied using a simple over-the-counter pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for patients to experience watery eyes, increased sensitivity to light, or swelling of their eye for the first few days following surgery.
Some patients see dramatic improvement in their vision within the very first day, and for others, vision can remain blurry for several weeks. Everyone heals differently, but the majority of patients are able to resume their normal activities the very next day.