Definition of Phototherapeutic Keratectomy

Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) – treatment with an excimer (cool) laser to smooth irregularities and dissipate cloudiness in the cornea. PTK is an ambulatory surgery procedure, with local anesthetic to numb the surface of the eye and a mild sedative for comfort. The procedure takes 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the extent of corneal sculpting needed.

The ophthalmologist may prescribe ophthalmic antibiotic medications and antiinflammatory medications after the procedure. Changes in visual acuity are generally complete in one to two months.

Conditions PTK can Treat
astigmatismcorneal clouding
corneal degenerationcorneal dystrophy
corneal scarringrecurrent corneal erosion
recurrent keratitisrefractive errors

Risks and Complications

The risks and potential complications of PTK include

  • Infection
  • Worsened visual acuity
  • Recurrence of the original problem

Most people experience improved visual acuity or relief from corneal pain following PTK.


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