Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) is an eye surgery performed to treat corneal surface diseases and scars, by removing the outer surface of the cornea and using a specialized laser to make the cornea smoother and clearer. PTK is often combined with Photoretrative Keratectomy (PRK), which is an eye surgery designed to reduce dependency upon eyeglasses and contact lenses. PTK is considered a medical treatment and is often times covered by insurance plans. PRK on the other hand, is generally not covered.
After your eyes are numbed using an eye drop anesthetic, your eye surgeon will remove the epithelium (the outer surface of the cornea) and reshape your cornea. You may be required to wear protective coverings over the eyes for a portion of the recovery period. Vision may appear hazy or blurry for about a week following the procedure. Most patients can resume normal activities within a few days. Pain medication and eye drops can be used to reduce any discomfort.
Patients should have realistic expectations about the results of the PTK procedure. While the purpose of the PTK procedure is to improve your overall visual acuity, there is no guarantee that the final results will meet all your expectations. Most patients are very satisfied with their final results.
The PTK procedure is safe and effective; offering patients permanent results. However, because it is a surgical procedure, there are risks. Almost every patient will experience some type of visual side effects. These side effects are normally mild and temporary. There is a small chance that some of these side effects will subside completely, including glare and light sensitivity. Serious complications with PTK are very rare.
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