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Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK)

Astigmatism is an eye condition in which the cornea is out of round, which causes the eye to focus on only part of an object at a time. Objects can appear blurry and wavy. Astigmatism can be corrected or reduced by undergoing an outpatient surgical procedure called Astigmatic Keratotomy (abbreviated as AK). During this short, painless procedure, microscopic incisions are made in the cornea, which reshapes it, making it more round.

The AK procedure is not for everyone, you should consult with your eye care specialist. However, it may be an appropriate treatment for those who want to be less dependent on glasses or contacts. They must be at least 18 years old, have mild astigmatism, with a stable eye prescription for at least one year, and no other eye health conditions.

On surgery day plan to arrive at the surgery center approximately one hour before your scheduled surgery time. Once you have been checked in, you will begin to be prepared for your procedure. Preparation will include cleaning of your eye and instilling anesthetic numbing drops into the surgery eye. You will also receive a sedative to help you relax. You will receive nothing by injection – no needles in the eye! When your eye is numb, a nurse will place an eyelid holder between the lids to stop any involuntary blinking.

To indicate the location of the incisions that will be made by the surgeon, a temporary marker is placed on your cornea. The surgeon has already decided the exact placement for these marks. This decision was based on the patient’s age, their eye prescription, and the amount of correction required. The surgeon will make two microscopic incisions, which will make your cornea more round. Next, you will receive antibiotic drops, and the eyelid holder will be removed. Even though you may be in the operating suite for up to one hour, the procedure itself takes only a few minutes.

At the conclusion of your procedure, you will receive additional eye drops, and your surgical eye may be shielded for protection. You will also be given additional eye drops, along with instructions on how to use them.

The decision about whether or not to have AK is very important, and the decision can only be made by you. The most important reason for having AK ophthalmic surgery is to reduce the need for eyeglasses. Just remember, your ophthalmic professional cannot guarantee the requested results.

Serious complications from this type of ophthalmic procedure are extremely rare. However, most all patients experience some side effects. Most of these side effects are mild and eventually go away. You must understand, though that some side effects like light sensitivity, glare and halos may never go away.

To assist you in deciding if AK is right for you, your ophthalmic caregivers will give you reading material about the procedure that will assist you in making your decision. Many questions concerning the procedure can be found on this Tyson Eye web site, and the Patient Forms section.

Before making your decisions, research the alternatives to having AK, as AK is not the only procedure available to correct astigmatism.

You know your eyes better than anyone.
If they don't see, feel or look as well as you'd like them to,
Request an Appointment with one of our doctors or call 239-542-2020.

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