Radial keratotomy (RK) is a refractive surgery procedure that involves making radial incisions in the cornea to reduce nearsightedness. While RK was popular in the 1980s and 1990s, it has largely been replaced by newer procedures such as LASIK and PRK. However, there are still many patients who underwent RK in the past and may experience complications from the procedure. Here are some important points to keep in mind about potential complications from RK:
- Corneal edema is a common early complication of RK that can occur in the first few days after surgery.
- Epithelial ingrowth is another early complication that can occur when epithelial cells grow under the flap created by the incisions.
- Infection is a rare but potentially serious complication that can occur after RK.
- Corneal instability is a common late complication of RK that can occur months or even years after the procedure. This can result in progressive hyperopia, astigmatism, or irregular astigmatism.
- Keratoconus is another late complication that has been reported in some patients who underwent RK.
- Regression of the effect is another potential complication that can occur over time as the cornea heals and stabilizes.
Findings from the PERK study:
- The Prospective Evaluation of Radial Keratotomy (PERK) study was a long-term, multi-center study that evaluated the safety and effectiveness of RK.
- The study found that while RK was effective in reducing nearsightedness in the short term, many patients experienced significant regression over time, with up to 43% experiencing progressive hyperopia.
- Late complications such as corneal instability, irregular astigmatism, and keratoconus were also observed in some patients.
- Overall, the PERK study highlighted the need for long-term follow-up and monitoring of patients who undergo RK.
In conclusion, while RK was once a popular refractive surgery procedure, it has largely been replaced by newer procedures such as LASIK and PRK. Patients who underwent RK in the past may experience complications from the procedure, including early complications such as corneal edema and epithelial ingrowth, as well as late complications such as corneal instability and keratoconus. The PERK study provided valuable insights into the safety and effectiveness of RK, and highlighted the need for long-term follow-up and monitoring of patients who undergo this procedure.