When you have astigmatism your cornea is more of an oval shape than round. This creates refractive errors because the light entering the eye is focused unevenly. Astigmatism is very common and can accompany any other form of refractive vision error.
The best option for reducing small to moderate amounts of astigmatism is limbal relaxing incision surgery. Dr. Schnipper usually creates limbal relaxing incisions during cataract surgery to help his patients no longer need eyeglasses.
The Limbal Relaxing Incision Procedure
The goal with a limbal relaxing incision (LRI) procedure is to release pressure on the cornea that is causing it to be shaped more like a football rather than the round shape necessary for the accurate focus of light on the retina at the back of the eye. Limbal relaxing incisions are made in the periphery of the cornea, an area known as the limbus. These incisions allow the cornea to relax and take a more rounded shape, reducing or eliminating astigmatism.
Limbal Relaxing Incisions with Cataract Surgery
If LRI is done in conjunction with cataract surgery, Dr. Schnipper first removes the cataract-clouded natural lens and replaces it with the artificial permanent IOL. Then he makes several tiny incisions in the periphery of the cornea with a diamond blade. These are made at the steepest part of the cornea. The procedure only adds a few minutes to the cataract procedure. As these incisions heal the cornea flattens and becomes more symmetrical, correcting for astigmatism.
Candidates for limbal relaxing incision surgery
Candidates for limbal relaxing incision surgery have mild to moderate astigmatism. Dr. Schnipper usually performs LRI as part of his cataract surgeries to further remove the need for the patient to wear glasses in the future. But it can also be a stand-alone procedure if a patient wants to simply correct for astigmatism.
How does Limbal Relaxing Incision Surgery correct astigmatism?
When a patient has astigmatism, the irregularities in the shape of the cornea create refractive errors where the eye fails to focus light equally on the retina. This leads to blurred or distorted vision. With astigmatism, the cornea is usually steeper and more of an oval shape.
When Dr. Schnipper creates limbal relaxing incisions in the limbus, this takes the stress off the cornea and it becomes less steep and more round.
What Dr. Schnipper’s Patients Say
My experience with the Jacksonville eye center just can not be beat. I’ve lived with terrible eyesight my entire life. Dr schnipper evaluated me for the best corrective eye surgery possible. The Dr and his staff are top notch, courteous professional and friendly. I would strongly recommend them to friends and family with eye care needs. Thank you Dr, and thank you to your team for helping me. – Jeff B.
LRI vs. Toric IOLs for Astigmatism Correction
Up until the last decade or so, the only option for correcting astigmatism was LRI. But then toric intraocular lenses were developed for cataract replacement surgery. These lenses correct for astigmatism, so not only is the cataract-clouded natural lens gone and replaced with a crystal clear intraocular lens, but the patient’s astigmatism is gone as well.
So which is better, LRI or toric IOLs? Ophthalmologists generally agree that LRI is best for correcting low amounts of astigmatism, 1.5 diopters or less. Toric IOLs are best for astigmatism of 1.5 diopters or higher.
Recovery After Limbal Relaxing Incision Surgery
After LRI, your eye may be sensitive to light for a few hours, and it may feel as if you have a foreign object in it. There is very little discomfort. While your astigmatism may be reduced as soon as the day after your LRI procedure, it usually takes up to a few weeks for the results to stabilize.
Schedule A Consultation
To learn more about limbal relaxing incision and to find out if you are a candidate, contact Jacksonville Eye Center. Call us at 904-355-5555 or submit an online contact form to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schnipper. Our practice serves Jacksonville, FL, and surrounding areas.