Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK)
In situations where there is superficial scar tissue or an irregular corneal surface that affects the eye, the vision may become blurry, or the eye may become uncomfortable. There are several surgical ways to reduce this scar tissue when glasses or contact lenses no longer work well for a patient. One of these methods is with a laser procedures called phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK). One of our physicians will discuss your options depending on the amount of scar tissue that you have and how much pain and discomfort you are having caused by this scarred tissue.
The PTK is a procedure that is performed using the excimer laser concentrating the laser beams to remove only scarred or irregular corneal surface to improve vision or to reduce discomfort from recurrent erosions of the corneal tissue and some corneal dystrophies.
PTK surgery will be performed under a topical anesthetic and there will be minimal discomfort during the actual procedure. You will be lying on your back during the procedure and a device called a lid speculum will be placed in your eye to hold it open. A modulating agent is used to coat the depressions and expose the peaks in the cornea. The laser treatment is then carefully carried out with the goal to smooth the corneal surface removing any scar or irregularities. Immediately after the procedure, a bandage contact lens will be placed on your eye for comfort. Your ophthalmologist will usually remove the bandage contact lens about four to seven days after the procedure. You may experience some mild pain postoperatively; however, you will receive medications to help reduce any discomfort. The vision will fluctuate during the healing process, which can take as long as three to six months for some patients.
Lamellar keratectomy is another surgical option to remove superficial corneal scars or surface irregularities not amenable to PTK. Our physicians will discuss your options depending on the amount of scar tissue that you have and how much pain and discomfort you are experiencing.
A full thickness or deep scar may be better treated by a form of corneal transplant such as DALK or full thickness PK.