Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) Eye Surgery

What Happens During Astigmatic Keratotomy Eye Surgery?

Astigmatic keratotomy eye surgery is done under a local anesthesia and the entire procedure lasts a maximum of 10 minutes for both eyes. It involves making one or two incisions at the steepest part of the cornea. This causes the cornea's football-shape, which is causing the astigmatism, to relax into a rounded shape.

What Should I Expect After Astigmatic Keratotomy Eye Surgery?

Your eye may be sensitive to light for a few hours or feel like there is a foreign object in it. Your doctor will prescribe eye drops for you that will help prevent infection and inflammation, and reduce the feeling that you have a foreign object in your eye.

While a reduction in the astigmatism is often observable by the day after surgery, it generally takes a few weeks before the results stabilize. In cases of severe astigmatism - which can be reduced by astigmatic keratotomy eye surgery but not eliminated -- new eyeglasses will be prescribed a month after surgery.

Very often people with astigmatism also have another vision problem, such as farsightedness . For these people, their vision without eyeglasses after the astigmatic keratotomy eye surgery may get worse at first. In order to achieve good vision without eyeglasses, a second procedure, such as LASIK must be performed at a later date.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute.

Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, WebMD, October 2004.

Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2005

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