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Is Conductive Keratoplasty A Safe Procedure ?

May 21, 2008
When it comes to people's eyes and the problems they might have with their vision, most generally take such issues pretty seriously and look for ways to improve their eyesight whenever possible. For some people the thought of corrective eye surgery makes them understandably squeamish.

However, in these days of highly-technological procedures, there are solutions to vision problems that are minimally invasive and which can deliver excellent results. Conductive keratoplasty (CK) is one of those corrective eye surgery procedures.

CK is a fairly new kind of laser eye surgery in practice today. It utilizes a mild heat that is generated from radio waves. These waves are used to reduce the size of the connective tissues. These tissues are a glue-like collagen, found in the periphery of the cornea and which can cause vision distortions.

A conductive keratoplasty procedure actually steepens the shape of the cornea. The result of this reshaping is that far-sighted patients who have presbyopia end up with improved near and distance vision. For those who only have presbyopia, their near vision is enhanced.

CK is not considered to be an appropriate treatment if you are nearsighted, and Lasik eye surgery would be recommended as a better procedure for people who are either nearsighted or have an astigmatism. CK is also currently being studied for its effectiveness with correcting astigmatisms, and while early indications are that it might be effective, it is not yet being widely used to correct that type of vision problem.

When CK was first introduced, there were some problems reported with the stability of the vision corrections and instances where the cornea actually reverted back to it's original condition before the corrective eye surgery was done. However, in recent years there have been many improvements in laser eye surgery techniques utilized in CK, and clinical studies in more recent years have shown that the procedure is delivering more stable results consistently.

In April of 2002, the FDA of the United States approved conductive keratoplasty for use with patients over the age of 40 who had mild conditions of farsightedness. Later, in 2004, the FDA expanded its approval to include presbyopia, which is a very common condition that typically effects people as they reach middle age. Presbyopia is a natural side-effect of the aging process and it causes the lens of the eye to stiffen, making it more difficult to focus at different distances at the same time.

As a result of these improvements, CK has been gaining a much greater level of acceptance among laser eye surgeons and potential patients are becoming more interested in this procedure. Ultimately, it will still be some years before long-term data on the success or failure of CK will be available, in order to make a comprehensive comparison between this type of corrective eye surgery and other procedures, such as Lasik vision surgery.

Unlike Lasik laser eye surgery, conductive keratoplasty does not involve any type of cutting into the surface of the ocular tissue and no type of external instrument is inserted into the eye. Because of this, it is almost unheard of for CK to have any serious complications or infections of any kind, and the main issue is with the lasting effect of the procedure.
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