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What are limbal relaxing incisions for astigmatism?

Laura C. Fine, MD
Ophthalmology
For people with pronounced astigmatism -- a common vision impairment that results from an irregularity in the curve of the cornea (the curved, transparent dome of tissue at the front of the eye) -- the eye surgeon makes a few small incisions in the cornea, known as limbal relaxing incisions, to improve the problem. This technique, also known as a limbal astigmatic keratotomy, has the effect of reshaping the curvature of the cornea, making it less like a football and more like a basketball. While this technique still doesn't achieve accommodation (adjustment of the eye for seeing objects at various distances), it may allow the person to see well without glasses for distance.

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