LTK Eye Surgery
LTK, which stands for laser thermokeratoplasty, is an eye surgery used to treat farsightedness and astigmatism.
During LTK eye surgery, a laser beam uses heat to shrink and reshape the cornea. Vision problems from farsightedness or astigmatism are corrected in a matter of seconds, without any cutting or removal of tissue.
Although highly effective in the short-term, the results of LTK eye surgery are not permanent. Your vision gradually regresses following LTK. To compensate, the doctor will intentionally overcorrect. As a result you end up with your desired vision.
Most of the regression occurs within the first three months with relatively little regression over the following two years. Although most studies show an enduring effect for up to three to five years in the majority of people, and even up to ten years in some, the FDA has labeled LTK as a "non-permanent" procedure.
What Are the Advantages of LTK Eye Surgery?
The advantages of LTK eye surgery include:
- Little risk of infection or vision loss since the laser is the only thing that touches the eye during LTK surgery.
- LTK eye surgery is very fast.
- Little discomfort results from LTK surgery, and patients are often able to resume normal activities the following day.
What Are the Disadvantages of LTK Eye Surgery?
The disadvantages of LTK eye surgery include:
- LTK eye surgery is not permanent.
- Patients experience temporary nearsightedness following the procedure since over-correction of vision is required to account for regression. Some patients may even need to wear glasses for a few weeks following LTK surgery.
- It is common for people who have had LTK to lose some (or all) of the corrective effects within three months to ten years of the surgery.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of LTK Eye Surgery?
Other than nearsightedness after LTK eye surgery, you may feel as if you have something in your eye. But this sensation should go away after the first day with the help of eye drops given to you by your doctor. You may also experience sensitivity to light the first day or so following LTK, but pain or other discomfort is rarely associated with this procedure.
Who's a Candidate for LTK Eye Surgery?
Due to its non-permanent effects, LTK eye surgery is only performed in people over the age of 40 who are mildly farsighted. Other than age, the qualifications for this surgery are the same as the qualifications for any refractive surgery.
How Should I Prepare for LTK Eye Surgery?
Before your LTK eye surgery you will meet with a coordinator who will discuss what you should expect during and after the surgery. During this session, your medical history will be evaluated and your eyes will be tested. Likely tests include measuring corneal thickness, refraction, corneal mapping, eye pressure, and pupil dilation. Once you have gone through your evaluation, you will meet the surgeon, who will answer any questions you may have. Afterwards, you can schedule an appointment for the procedure.