Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) and Superficial Keratectomy (SK)

Dr. Cavanaugh is a fellowship trained corneal surgeon and has a high level of expertise utilizing the PTK and SK procedures.

Some people cannot see well, even with glasses or contacts, because of corneal irregularities from dystrophies or scars.

Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) is a procedure that uses an excimer laser to remove haziness and irregularities from the cornea. The cornea is the first outer layer of the eye that focuses light directly on the retina. It is normally clear and smooth. If the corneal surface is rough or cloudy, light focuses poorly on the retina resulting in blurry, inconsistent vision. With the advent of the PTK procedure, corneal transplants can be delayed or avoided altogether for some patients. Using a laser in this procedure provides a greater degree of predictability and accuracy than with conventional treatments. The laser is also able to create a smoother corneal surface than a blade while removing more exact amounts of tissue, leaving the cornea as smooth and clean as possible.

The SK procedure is used to treat some of the most common ocular surface diseases, including recurrent corneal erosion, anterior basement membrane dystrophy, and Salzmann’s nodular degeneration. SK is typically an in-office procedure that removes scars and/or defective surface cells from the cornea so that new healthy cells can take their place. In both PTK and SK, patients are kept comfortable during the procedure with topical numbing drops. Although patients typically experience blurry vision up to a few weeks after these procedures, many patients are able to return to their normal activities the day after their surgery. Mild to moderate pain, scratchiness and light sensitivity are common for the first 5-7 days.

Interesting in learning more? Contact Cavanaugh Eye Center today!