The excimer laser may provide a novel modality in the treatment of a number of superficial corneal disorders. This treatment is known as phototherapeutic keratectomy, or PTK. Whether PTK is used alone or as an adjunctive strategy in traditional corneal surgical techniques, a number of disorders affecting the corneal surface may be successfully treated by taking advantage of the excimer laser’s ability to meticulously remove superficial corneal tissue. These include a variety of corneal degenerations and dystrophies, corneal irregularities, and superficial scars.
While some of these conditions could be treated by mechanical superficial keratectomy techniques, PTK may minimize tissue removal and surgical trauma. The smoother stromal surface achieved by the excimer laser procedure may improve surface smoothness of the cornea, postoperative corneal clarity, postoperative scarring, and subsequent epithelial adhesion. Moreover, superficial corneal disorders that would in some cases require corneal transplant may instead be treated with the PTK procedure.
Phototherapeutic Keratectomy might be for those of any age who have corneal surface diseases such as:
- Types of corneal scars that might be thin or not deep
- Epithelial erosion syndrome (erosion of the outer part of the cornea)
- Corneal dystrophies