Phototherapeutic Keratectomy

What is phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK)?

Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) is a type of laser eye surgery used to treat conditions affecting the superficial layers of the cornea. The same laser used for laser vision correction is also used in PTK; however, instead of using the excimer laser to re-shape your cornea, PTK removes superficial corneal abnormalities such as scars and opacities and treats painful recurrent corneal erosions. Additionally, if you already wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction and require a PTK treatment, this can be combined with a PRK to simultaneously correct your refractive error.

When is PTK used?

PTK is used in the management of a variety of conditions affecting the superficial cornea:

  • Recurrent corneal erosion syndrome, or epithelial basement membrane dystrophy (EBMD)
  • Shallow corneal scars
  • Band keratopathy (deposition of calcium in the cornea)
  • Superficial corneal opacities present in Reis-Bucklers, lattice or granular dystrophies.

How does PTK work?

PTK works by using an excimer laser to remove a very precise amount of corneal tissue from the surface of the cornea, thereby removing any scars or opacities that is affecting your vision. In painful recurrent corneal erosion syndrome, the laser freshens up the top layer of the cornea so that the new surface cells (epithelium) that grows back sticks back down properly and forms stronger adhesions with the underlying cornea.

Booking a consultation

If you’d like to find out if you are suitable for a Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK), please contact us on (03) 8080 1082 to book a consultation at one of our eye clinics in Melbourne, Victoria, or click on the button below to request a call back.

Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) FAQs:

Recurrent corneal erosion syndrome (RCES) describes the repeated breakdown of the corneal epithelium caused by loose attachment of the epithelium to the underlying cornea. This often occurs at the site of a previous abrasion. After the abrasion heals, the new epithelium that grows back doesn’t adhere normally, predisposing it to recurrent breakdowns that cause severe eye pain, light sensitivity and watering. Some people have an underlying condition called epithelial basement membrane dystrophy (also known as map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy) that predisposes them to having RCES.

With the use of modern laser platforms, PTK treatments have an ablation profile that is refractively neutral. This means that if you currently wear glasses or contact lenses, your prescription is unlikely to change. Likewise, if you do not wear glasses, this is likely to remain unchanged as well.

At the end of the procedure, your vision will be quite blurry. Vision may be variable for the first week while the surface heals. It will then continue to gradually improve over the following few weeks before it stabilizes.

After the procedure, you will have a protective bandage contact lens placed over the cornea for 3 to 4 days for comfort and to support the regeneration of the new epithelium. Your eyes will be watery, irritated and light sensitive for the first few days after treatment. We recommend that you take a week off work as the eye will be uncomfortable as the surface heals. Most people are able to go back to work and resume normal activities a week after surgery.