Correcting Radial Keratotomy (RK) Complications

Radial keratotomy (RK) is a refractive surgical procedure to correct myopia (nearsightedness) that was developed in 1974. It has been superseded by newer operations, such as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), LASIK, Intra-Lasik, Wavefront Lasik, and others. Although rarely done now, millions of people underwent RK in the 80’s and 90’s around the world with over a million procedures done in the United States. In addition, many of these RK patients had LASIK in an attempt to undo damage caused by their initial RK surgery.

With the RK procedure, incisions are made on the cornea with a scalpel (knife). These tiny cuts flatten the surface of the cornea and reduce nearsightedness. The surgeon may make additional cuts to flatten the misshapen part of the cornea for those people who have both astigmatism and nearsightedness. The long term results of radial keratotomy (RK) complications have truly been horrific for many people. Numerous problems occurred years later. These include:

• Loss of Best Corrected Visual Acuity
• Severe Dry Eye
• Unstable or Fluctuating Vision
• Double or Triple Vision
• Irregular Astigmatism
• Halos, Glare, and Reduced Night Vision

Many RK patients also underwent additional RK procedures followed by one or more LASIK procedures. In every instance, the additional procedures only exacerbated the problem. In recent years, advances in specialty lenses including Scleral lenses and other unique advanced lens technologies have become available which will allow patients to see clearly and comfortably once again, without the risk of further surgery.

The images below show how one of our patients, Sharon B., sees at night after having RK surgery vs. how she now sees with a Scleral lens.

 Post RK Surgery with glasses                   Post RK Surgery Corrected with Scleral lens                                                                       Post RK Surgery Uncorrected and corrected