What other options are available after having bilateral RK surgery?

David R. Demartini, MD
Radial Keratotomy (RK) is a surgery perform commonly in the 1970's through 1990's where a series of radial incisions (like spokes on a wheel) were placed in the cornea to reduce nearsightedness and/or astigmatism. These incision weakened the corneas allowing them to flatten centrally. Unfortunately, a few corneas were weakned enough so that they remained unstable leading to variable or distorted vision. Most did not have this problem. More rigid forms of contact lens can correct for these problems but not reverse them. Most people are corrected adequately enough that no further treatment is necessary. Once Laser treatment for vision correction was developed, radial keratotomy fell out of favor.
Occasionally, a severe problem from RK cannot be fixed with contacts and a corneal transplant is considered. Unfortunately even a corneal transplant is not perfect either and often the patient has to wear contacts or glasses afterwards to get their best vision.  As always a competent eye specialist needs to consulted for this problem.

There are two types of RK that were performed in the 1980s and 90s.  Mini RK incisions stopped prior to the limbus (where the white meets the colored part of your eye) and normal RK where the incisions were carried out into the limbus. This would impact the stability of your RK result. 

Rigid contact lenses can be wonderful in helping with the clarity of vision in patients who have previously undergone RK.

There is also a new procedure being evaluated by the FDA and being performed in several foreign countries that MIGHT provide additional stability to your cornea.  It is called Riboflavin cross linking.  I suggest you ask your ophthalmologist about this procedure and consider waiting for this procedure to be approved by the FDA or you might attempt to enroll in one of the US clinical trials where this procedure is being performed and studied for the FDA.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.