Phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK)

Phototherapeutic keractectomy or PTK is an eye laser surgery of the cornea using excimer laser beams. This treatment is sometimes carried out on patients that repeatedly have lesions on the cornea. In this case we are talking about recurrent erosion.

With a PTK, first the epithelium is completely removed. Then, a very thin layer of tissue is lasered off using excimer laser beams. In this way, the stromal surface, which the epithelium needs to attach to, is completely smooth and even.

This eye laser treatment using PTK is carried out under anesthetic drops at the University Laser Center of Leuven. There is no pain during the PTK laser surgery. However, when the eye wakes up the patient has a lot of pain.

There is a very large corneal wound which usually heals within three days. During this recovery the patient will wear a bandage lens or pressure bandage and they will receive the appropriate pain medication and eye drops.

The eye will be checked every day by an ophthalmologist at the Eye Clinic in Winksele in order to verify that the wound is healing nicely and there is no infection.

After three days, the pain has usually gone. Vision will slowly improve in the following weeks.

Since PTK is an expensive and very painful treatment, it is only used when eye drops, ointments, pressure bandages and pressure lenses have not been able to bring relief. The success rate of PTK is approximately 90 %.

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