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.

Related Questions

Did anything bad happen to the people who got radial keratotomy over the years, since it was long ago?

Possible yes. Rk is almost never performed now because of the side effects which included regression, scarring, and irregular astigmatism. This was due to the fact that the human hand cannot make 8 or 16 perfectly symmetrical and identical incisions in the eye and that each incision would not heal exactly the same. Many patients with rk now have worse vision and many use contact lenses to treat astigmatism. Read more...

Can I perform my own radial keratotomy?

Yikes. You could numb your eye with medication so you could do this painlessly. But you have no ability to control the cutting instrument on yourself. The likelihood is that you would slice open your eye and need emergency surgery. Do not do this at home. Anyway, lasik has totally replaced radial keratotomy as a more predictable and safer therapy. Read more...

Does radial keratotomy vision deteriorate?

Possible yes. Rk is almost never performed now because of the side effects which included regression, scarring, and irregular astigmatism. This was due to the fact that the human hand cannot make 8 or 16 perfectly symmetrical and identical incisions in the eye and that each incision would not heal exactly the same. Many patients with rk now have worse vision and many use contact lenses to treat astigmatism. Read more...

Is radial keratotomy a very common procedure?

Not any more. Rk or radial keratotomy was once very popular as a refractive surgery about 25-30 years ago, but there have been safety concerns due to the very deep incisions needed in the cornea. Laser procedures such as lasik, lasek and prk or photorefractive keratectomy have mainly replaced rk. Read more...
No. Rk was performed before laser refractive surgery was available. Although it was effective in a lot of people, the results were quite variable and over time many patients noted major changes in their prescriptions. Laser procedures are far more accurate, and treat the upper 10% of the cornea, rather than the nearly full thickness of it. Read more...

Is there any pain involved in a radial keratotomy?

Mild discomfort. Radial keratotomy is an older form of vision correction surgery that is rarely performed today. It involves making tiny incisions into the cornea in order to change its shape. While the procedure itself is painless, it is not uncommon for people to feel a "scratchy" sensation for a day or so after the procedure. Artificial tears can decrease the discomfort. Speak to a doctor about lasik/prk. Read more...

Can overcorrection by radial keratotomy be treated?

Yes. The common way is to use glasses or contact lenses. Laser vision correction can also work. See your ophthalmologist to discuss the various options with you. Read more...

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. Read more...

Could overcorrection by radial keratotomy be treated by lasik?

LASIK and RK. I personally would not recommend lasik in patients with previous rk. A better option would be prk (surface ablation). Of course, many patents with previous rk (which was performed in the 80's and early 90s) have early cataracts - and early cataract surgery can be performed which can help significantly improve vision. Please see your own doctor to discuss options. Read more...

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. Read more...
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. Read more...