Conductive Keratoplasty (CK) is a proven treatment for presbyopia or hyperopia (long-sightedness). It employs a non-invasive, radiofrequency based technique to carry out a precisely controlled reshaping of the cornea, restoring perfect vision in many instances.
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Conductive Keratoplasty is a non-invasive form of eye surgery. It targets the cornea, which is the outermost layer of the eye, and is instrumental in focusing light. By changing the shape of the cornea using radio frequencies, surgeons can address problems such as presbyopia and hyperopia, which make it hard to focus on close objects.
CK works by counteracting the degradation of the cornea which naturally occurs in many of us as we age. As we enter middle age, our corneas tend to lose their suppleness, making it harder to focus on nearby text or images
Assessment and preparation
The first stage in conductive keratoplasty is a consultation with an eye specialist. They will be able to ascertain the degree of presbyopia or hyperopia suffered by each individual and assess whether corrective radiofrequency surgery is the appropriate solution. Factors such as age and broader personal health will also enter the picture. If everything aligns, the surgeon will explain the keratoplasty procedure to you and book an appointment. In the run-up to surgery,you will be urged to eliminate alcohol and tobacco, and some medications may also be prohibited for a short period of time. Importantly,you will also have to avoid using all forms of contact lenses for a period of 2-4 weeks prior to their surgery.
When the surgery day arrives, you will be admitted to theatre and administered an eyedrop based anaesthetic to one or both eyes, depending on the nature of the keratoplasty procedure. When this has been done, surgeons will use a very fine probe with a needle-like tip to manipulate the surface of the cornea. The needle tip won't penetrate the cornea at any stage (hence the procedure is classified as non-invasive). Instead, it applies heat via radio waves. The temperature is maintained at a precise range to avoid excessive tissue damage, and surgeons apply pressure at a series of "spots" around the border of the cornea. As these spots heal, they tend to tighten up, drawing the cornea more tightly (think of it like a belt around the cornea).
Discharge and recovery
When the spots have been created, the procedure is complete. There is usually no need for further measures, and you will be free to return home immediately. Recovery takes a period of weeks, as the cornea adopts its new position. This means that you will have to take care when washing and living their daily lifestyles. In some cases, contact lens bandages may also be applied. These are temporary, and should be needed only for a period of a few days.
The procedure outlined above will vary little between patients. However, there are a number of different situations in which conductive keratoplasty is performed. For instance, keratoplasty may be carried out on one or both eyes. Patients may suffer from presbyopia or astigmatism in a single eye (monovision), resulting in a slightly different procedure. In these cases, one eye must be corrected for long-vision, and the other for close-vision, and finding the right balance is vital. Surgeons will need to ensure that the two corneas match up perfectly, to achieve the right level of focus. In other cases, CK is employed following laser eye surgery. On rare occasions, laser eye surgery can over-correct myopia (short-sightedness). Instead of resorting to further laser procedures, surgeons may recommend conductive keratoplasty as an effective response.
When undergoing conductive keratoplasty, you should expect an instant improvement in the quality of your vision. The procedure has an excellent track record in resolving problems associated with hyperopia and presbyopia, and the corneal tightening effect can be experienced very soon after surgery. However, be aware that the healing process does take time, and in some cases, fully improved vision will take 2-4 months to develop. You will also need to follow recommendations intended to prevent infection. Additionally, the benefits associated with CK can fade over time. The procedure can do nothing to halt the ageing process, so corneal decay can resume. This can often be addressed with supplementary CK appointments, often years after the initial surgery. More generally, people who have used glasses or contact lenses for long periods will not need to use those visual aids any longer. Expect profound improvements in close reading and watching television, as well as any activity which requires precise close-up vision, including sports or computer usage.