Thermal keratoplasty for farsightedness

Thermal keratoplasty is a type of refractive surgery that uses heat to change the shape of the cornea by shrinking the collagen fibers in the cornea. Though the treatment is not effective for severe farsightedness (hyperopia), it has been shown to correct mild to moderate farsightedness. Thermal keratoplasty can be applied through a laser (noncontact) or probes (contact).

Noncontact technique

Laser thermokeratoplasty (LTK) involves applying pulses of laser light in ring formation to the cornea, which heats the collagen and changes the shape of the cornea. Actual treatment time is only a few seconds for each eye. LTK has been approved for people over 40 years of age who have mild hyperopia of 2.5 diopters or less. There is some discomfort after the procedure, including expected initial overcorrection of vision.

Contact technique

Conductive keratoplasty is a relatively new technique, approved by the FDA in 2002, that can treat mild to moderate farsightedness. A contact probe delivers radiofrequency energy to multiple locations on the cornea, shrinking the collagen and steepening the central cornea. Treatment takes less than 1 minute for each eye.

Disadvantages of the procedure include an initial overcorrection, inability to treat astigmatism, and a possibility of inducing astigmatism. Also, the correction may not last, so you may need to have the procedure again.

Last Updated: November 5, 2009

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