Astigmatic Correction

Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRIs)

The outer layer of the eye can be divided into three areas: the cornea, the sclera and the limbus. The cornea is the clear part, or the window, that covers the iris and the pupil. The sclera is the white part of the eye. The limbus is the thin area that connects the cornea and the sclera.

Limbal relaxing incisions (LRIs) treat low to moderate degrees of astigmatism. Astigmatism is when the cornea is elliptical rather than spherical. Slight astigmatism can cause blurred vision while strong astigmatism can cause headaches and eyestrain at all distances. As the name suggests, our cornea surgeon makes small relaxing incisions in the limbus, which allows the cornea to become more rounded when it heals. LRIs are placed at the very edge of the cornea (in the limbus) on the steepest meridians.


Limbal Relaxing Incisions are for those:

  • who have astigmatism
  • want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contacts
  • have no health issues affecting their eyes

These incisions are usually made at the time of cataract surgery to reduce or eliminate the astigmatism and thus increase the chances for better vision without eyeglasses.  A near prescription will usually still be necessary to read and do close work.  Our doctors will discuss the options that make the best sense for you.  Some patients that need a limbal relaxing incision after cataract surgery may have this procedure done in the office!


In traditional cataract surgery, the surgeon implants a monofocal artificial lens, commonly called an “intraocular lens” (IOL). If you have astigmatism however, you may still experience blurred and distorted vision because a standard IOL cannot correct corneal astigmatism. In January 2007, Medicare approved a new monofocal IOL called the Toric IOL for patients with cataracts and astigmatism. The Toric corrects for both conditions (cataracts and astigmatism) simultaneously.

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The Toric IOL is a foldable, single piece lens that is implanted during cataract surgery to replace the clouded lens. The unique design of the  Toric IOL makes it possible to reduce or eliminate corneal astigmatism and significantly improve uncorrected distance vision. Toric lens provide QUALITY distance vision, independent of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

In a recent FDA study, 97% of patients who had the Toric lens implanted in both eyes reported freedom from their glasses for distance vision.  It is important to understand that reading and computer glasses are still required with this lens, however; if a standard lens were used, bifocal glasses would be needed. The Toric IOL can treat both the cataract and astigmatism in one surgical out-patient procedure. If you are interested in learning more about Toric IOL’s, please contact Ophthalmology Associates.


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