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Eye Health Center

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Astigmatic Keratotomy Eye Surgery

What Happens During Astigmatic Keratotomy?

AK is done with topical anesthesia put directly into the eye, and the entire procedure generally lasts a maximum of 10 minutes for both eyes. It involves making one or two incisions at the steepest part of the cornea. This causes the cornea's football-shape, which is causing the astigmatism, to relax into a rounded shape.

RK is also done under topical anesthesia, and the entire procedure also lasts only a few minutes. It generally involves making four to eight incisions from the periphery towards the center of the cornea to decrease its curvature of the cornea.

What Should I Expect After AK or LRI?

After AK or LRI, your eye may be sensitive to light for a few hours or feel like there is a foreign object in it. Your doctor will prescribe eye drops for you to prevent infection and inflammation and reduce irritation.

While reduction in the astigmatism is often observed the day after surgery, it generally takes a few weeks before the results stabilize. In cases of severe astigmatism (myopia) -- which can be reduced but not eliminated -- new eyeglasses will be prescribed a month after surgery.

Often people with astigmatism also have another vision problem, such as farsightedness. For these people, their vision without eyeglasses after the astigmatic keratotomy may get worse at first. To achieve good vision without eyeglasses, a second procedure, such as LASIK may be performed at a later date.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on November 05, 2013
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