Radial Keratotomy: FSA Eligibility
What is radial keratotomy?
Keratotomy refers to a type of eye surgery, the most common of which is radial keratotomy, which is a corrective surgical procedure for vision that predates PRK and LASIK. While this procedure has been overtaken by other more modern procedures, radial keratotomy continues to be a reliable means of correcting astigmatism (nearsightedness) in certain patients.
Radial keratotomy was developed in 1974 by a Russian ophthalmologist named Svyatoslav Fyodorov, who performed an eye operation on a child who had fallen off of his bike and had glass implanted into his eye. Through a series of incisions into the eye to remove the glass, Fyodorov was surprised to find that the boy's visual acuity had improved. This lead to the further development of radial keratotomy as a means of correcting common vision issues.
How is radial keratotomy done?
During a radial keratotomy procedure, a diamond knife is used to make radial incisions (imagine spokes in a wheel) in the cornea of the eye that are set to a predetermined depth based on the degree of nearsightedness that a patient experiences. The purpose behind these incisions is to allow the sides of the cornea to spread outward and thereby flattening the central portion of the cornea. As the incisions heal, this brings the focal point of the eye much closer to the retina, which can make a dramatic difference in improving a patient's distance vision.
Radial keratotomy is an outpatient procedure and conducted under local anesthesia, and despite how advanced it may sound, the entire operation on one eye takes about 10 to 15 minutes and the entire process should not last longer than 2 hours. After the surgery is conducted, the patient will wear a patch on his/her eye, and return to the doctor's office a day after the surgery for the doctor to inspect the eye and apply eye drops to prevent any chances of infection or to reduce any inflammation that may be present (WebMD).
Ultimately, radial keratotomy recovery is usually very quick with only mild discomfort, and patients can return to normal activities within several days. However, doctors recommend to avoid driving until the patient's vision has cleared, as the eye blurriness can persist for days and weeks after the procedure has been conducted. Additionally, doctors recommend avoiding any sports, activities, eye makeup and other substances that may get water in the eye.