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The PTK Procedure

Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK)

Some people cannot see well, even with glasses or contacts, because of irregularities in their cornea. Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) is a procedure that uses a laser to remove haziness and irregularities from the cornea. The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye - normally clear and smooth - that first bends light rays so they focus directly on the retina. If the surface of the cornea has rough or cloudy spots, the light will not focus precisely on the retina, resulting in blurry, inconsistent vision.

Until recently, the only way to correct a cloudy or irregular cornea and achieve clearer vision was a partial or full corneal transplant. But now, PTK is an exciting, precise option to help correct vision problems related to an imperfect cornea that can help delay or prevent corneal transplants in good PTK candidates. Dr. Vance Thompson was a national medical monitor in the FDA-monitored clinical trials to develop PTK in the United States.

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.

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The LASIK procedure is the right answer for most patients who are considering refractive surgery to improve their vision. However, in patients with higher degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness, the cornea may be too thin to allow full refractive correction.

In these cases, surgical implants may be the best alternative. These special devices are placed in the eyes to improve their focusing ability.


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