Conductive Keratoplasty Eye Surgery
If you find yourself holding menus at an arm’s length, you might feel ready to correct your vision. Conductive keratoplasty (CK) is a relatively new procedure designed for patients struggling with farsightedness or astigmatism. Since CK is non-invasive and does not remove tissue, it has considerable advantages over laser surgeries.
What is conductive keratoplasty?
Conductive keratoplasty is a non-invasive alternative to laser surgeries. The procedure involves using radio waves to improve the contour of the cornea. CK may reduce mild to moderate hyperopia and presbyopia, which are both forms of farsightedness. Conductive keratoplasty may also be used to treat blurry vision resulting from astigmatism.
Who can get CK?
Conductive keratoplasty eye surgery has received FDA approval for people aged 40 and older with mild to moderate farsightedness or astigmatism. Eligible patients also meet the following criteria:
- Have not had previous vision surgery
- Have had stable vision (no significant changes) for the past year
- Do not have any chronic eye disorders or any chronic disease
- Are not pregnant or nursing
Patients must undergo a physical before CK may be performed. Discuss your potential for undergoing this procedure with your eye doctor.
What steps are involved in CK?
During the patient’s initial visit, the ophthalmologist creates a map of the cornea. An instrument called a corneal topographer essentially takes a photograph of the patient’s cornea to guide the doctor’s work. The map indicates area of the cornea that can benefit from reshaping.
The procedure is performed during a second visit. First, the ophthalmologist applies a topical anesthetic in the form of eye drops. Next, he or she uses a tiny wand to direct radiofrequency energy. The radio energy is applied in a circular pattern to constrict small patches of corneal tissue. This helps to improve the curvature of the cornea and thus helps the eye to better refract light. Just ten minutes later, the procedure is complete!
What is the CK recovery process?
Patients generally report a simple recovery. Although they are advised to not drive immediately after the procedure, they may return to work right away. Some have dry eyes or the sensation of a foreign object being in the eyes for a day or two after the procedure. Vision begins improving in about a week.
Patients should take special care to avoid eye infection during the week following CK. They should not wear eye make-up or swim. When showering, they should take special care to keep water out of their eyes. Patients should avoid rubbing their eyes for at least two weeks.
What risks are involved in conductive keratoplasty surgery?
Improvements gained from CK may decrease over time. The procedure also cannot prevent the worsening in vision that naturally occurs with aging. Potential conductive keratoplasty problems should be discussed with your eye doctor.
In a Refractec, Inc. survey of 106 patients receiving CK, 85% of patients reported being satisfied with the procedure one year later. Five percent were dissatisfied. Dissatisfied patients still could not read newspaper-sized print without the assistance of corrective lenses. Some ranked their vision as being worse and reported having compromised depth perception as a result of the procedure.