Just for your eyes

PTK/Superficial Keratectomy

Laser surgery for the treatment of corneal opacities

Both PTK and superficial keratectomy are minor outpatient surgical procedures used to treat corneal scarring and clouding when eye drops and other treatments to minimize symptoms are no longer sufficient.

About PTK

Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) is a minor surgical procedure that uses an excimer laser to remove roughness and cloudiness from the cornea, which can result in blurred vision and sometimes reoccurring eye pain or discomfort.

PTK is used to treat scars on the cornea, diseases of the surface of the cornea including corneal dystrophies such as granular dystrophy, a condition called recurrent epithelial erosion syndrome and certain corneal infections. In the past, these conditions would often lead to the need for a corneal transplant, but PTK is able to remove just the outer layer of the cornea, potentially eliminating the need for a corneal transplant while also providing quicker healing time.

During the PTK procedure, thin layers of diseased corneal tissue are removed using an excimer laser, the same type of laser used during a portion of LASIK surgery, and the corneal surface is smoothed so that new, healthy tissue can then grow over the now-smooth surface.

After the procedure, a clear contact lens “bandage” is placed on the eye to allow for healing and to minimize discomfort. Your ophthalmologist will also give you protective eyewear and prescribe an antibiotic, steroid eye drops as well as moisturizing eye drops. You’ll need someone to drive you home after the surgery and you can expect your eyesight to remain blurry or hazy for the first week after the procedure, so it’s best to take things easy for the first few days and not drive until a week after your procedure. Full improvement is usually seen within three to six months.

PTK has been done for more than 20 years and is an effective treatment for corneal erosion with more than a 90% success rate.  Some patients may require more than one PTK treatment.  The treatment is not invasive and treatment results are long lasting.

Although PTK is similar to LASIK, PTK is used to treat the surface level corneal disease and does not correct vision. In PTK no corneal flap is created, and no vision correction reshaping is done. However, PTK can sometimes be used alongside photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) to treat corneal scarring and correct a refractive error at the same time. Your ophthalmologist can advise if both PTK and PRK are right for you.

A minimally invasive surgical procedure that can remove scarring, inflammation, or other unwanted deposits

About Superficial Keratectomy

Superficial keratectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can remove scarring, inflammation, or other unwanted deposits due to disease in the outer layer of the cornea, the epithelium, allowing for improved vision and a better quality of life.

Before this outpatient procedure, the eye is numbed and then your ophthalmologist will use a special tool to gently scrape away the epithelial cells of the cornea to remove epithelial cells, exposing the underlying scar tissue or corneal deposit.  Then, a mechanical burr instrument may be used to finely and evenly smooth the corneal surface.

Afterward, a clear contact lens “bandage” is placed on the eye to allow for healing and minimize postoperative discomfort. This contact lens will remain on for five days while the eye heals and eye drops should be applied regularly for up to two weeks. Full recovery generally takes up to several weeks as the cornea continues to heal and vision continues to clear.

Each patient’s eyes are different.  While the typical course of treatment is outlined above, your doctor at OCCR will perform a complete exam and ocular analysis when planning your customized treatment protocol.

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