Tell me the difference between photorefractive keratectomy vs radial keratotomy?

Laser vs scalpel. Prk uses a laser to resurface and reshape the front of the eye to improve vision. Rk involves creating multiple radial incisions on the cornea in a symmetrical pattern to flatten the cornea. Prk is much newer and more reliable technology. Rk has many side effects such as regression, irregular astigmatism, and scarring.

Related Questions

Please advise what is the difference between photorefractive keratectomy vs radial keratotomy?

Cutting v sculpting. Radial keratotomy (rk) is an older and rarely performed procedure that has side effects. The eye surgeon makes a series of radial cuts about 90% deep in the cornea to flatten it and reduce or eliminate myopia. Photorefractive keratectomy (prk) uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea. It is done on the surface of the cornea as opposed lasik which is performed under a flap of cornea.

Can radial keratotomy be done again to correct "middle aged eyes"?

No. Radial keratotomy to begin with is now obselete and has been superseded by laser treatment (lasik, prk). You would like to have a procedure to re-establish the elasticity of your natural lens to allow near and far focus. Sorry but as part of the aging process, this function is lost. So radial keratotomy or laser treatment will not do this for you.

Is there something they will give me for anxiety when I'm doing a radial keratotomy?

Yes. Often we can give a short acting anti anxiety medication such as lorazapam, xanax, (alprazolam) or Ativan to calm patients for refractive surgery. Be sure to tell your surgeon of all medications that you are taking, and we can avoid any potential interactions.
Yes, but. Patients may be given an oral sedative (valium, xanax, (alprazolam) ativan, etc.) either just before or immediately after corneal refractive surgery. I am more concerned as to whether you meant photorefractive keratomileusis (prk) which is performed by laser, rather than radial keratotomy (rk) - an older treatment using a blade. Rk is usually not performed anymore since prk and lasik are safer.

Where is a radial keratotomy usually done? At a hospital?

In the office. Rk is an old treatment for nearsightedness (myopia) that is rarely performed today. It has been replaced by lasik and prk, both of which are more precise and safer. All three procedures are normally performed in an office setting, and take only a few minutes to perform.

Is it okay to get lasik surgery done if you previously have had radial keratotomy?

Rarely. I generally perform prk with Mitomycin c for vision correction in stable radial keratotomy patients. If the prescription is unstable, the patient may need to be stabilized with collagen crosslinking prior to prk. In rare cases, lasik can be considered although there is higher risk of flap complications.
No, PRK may be OK. Lasik is not generally a great idea after previous radial keratotomy as there is a fear that the rk incisions can come apart with the creation of a lasik flap. If all else is normal and the refraction is stable, great success can be achieved with prk, as the creation of a flap is not needed.
Possibly. I have had excellent results performing lasik after rk. There is definitely a concern regarding the rk incisions, but I have never seen a major issue with this.

Could radial keratotomy be done again to correct "middle aged eyes" after 15 years?

Not likely. While RK is still done on rare occasions, it cannot be used to treat presbyopia, the normal loss of focusing for up-close that occurs with getting older.

How long does the radial keratotomy take?

Quick. The actual surgery is very fast, often taking less than 5 minutes. However the measurements of the cornea to accurately perform radial keratotomy (rk) should take some time, up to 20-30 minutes to check corneal shape and thickness at various points on the eye surface. Rk has fallen out of favor and has been replaced in most cases with prk using the laser, or lasik.

Can radial keratotomy vision deteriorate throughout life?

Maybe. One of the long term problems with rk surgery is the lack of long term stability in some patients. Sometimes, their prescription keeps changing over time, usually making them become more far-sighted. There are some therapies available that may help. Consult a corneal specialist.

Was radial keratotomy the original lasik procedure?

No. Radial keratotomy (rk) was a precursor refractive surgery to lasik. In lasik, a circular flap is created and then lifted up to expose the corneal stroma. Then laser is applied and the flap replaced. In rk, radial cuts are made to create relaxing incisions to try and flatten the cornea. Late onset regression and scarring were the side effects. Current technology with lasers is better.
No. No. Although rk preceded lasik is was a surgery performed by a blade and not by a laser. It was not as precise and long term stability of prescription was poor.