CK SM (Conductive Keratoplasty SM)
Frequently Asked Questions
How is CK performed?
CK uses the controlled release of radiofrequency (RF) energy, instead of a laser, to reshape the cornea. Conductive keratoplasty is performed using a small probe, thinner than a strand of human hair, that releases radiofrequency (RF) energy. The probe is applied in a circular pattern on the outer cornea to shrink small areas of corneal tissue. This circular shrinkage pattern creates a constrictive band (like the tightening of a belt), increasing the overall curvature of the cornea. The procedure, which takes less than three minutes, is done in-office with only topical anesthesia (eye drops).
Will you be cutting the cornea?
No. CK is performed without the cutting or removal of tissue. It is a safe, minimally invasive procedure for farsightedness.
Is radiofrequency (RF) energy safe for use on the eye?
Yes. The use of RF energy is one of today's most advanced surgical techniques. In addition to its use in CK, RF technology is being used in prostate cancer therapy, back surgery, orthopedics, cosmetics, even cardiovascular procedures.
Will my vision improve immediately after surgery?
Patients usually notice an immediate improvement in their vision after the conductive keratoplasty procedure. However, it usually takes several weeks for the eyes to reach the final level of correction.
Will my vision fluctuate after surgery is performed?
Most patients will experience mild fluctuation in their vision after surgery, but many will never notice it. Any fluctuation will usually subside within a few weeks. Patients who undergo vision procedures for farsightedness usually require a longer stabilization period than those treated for nearsightedness.
Are both eyes treated on the same day?
Only for patients who require treatment in both eyes. If so, CK is typically performed on both eyes on the same day - one eye immediately after the other. Most patients are comfortable having the CK procedure performed on both eyes on the same day because the procedure is minimally invasive and requires only a few minutes to perform.
Will I have to wear patches over my eyes after the procedure?
You will not have to wear patches or bandages, however your eyes may be scratchy and light-sensitive for the first 24-48 hours. Wearing good sunglasses and keeping your eyes closed as much as possible will ease these symptoms.
How soon can I return to work?
With conductive keratoplasty, the majority of patients are able to return to work and other normal activities 1-2 days after their procedure. Although recovery is fairly quick, it is advisable to be careful with your eyes and to avoid any strain. Those whose jobs demand intense clarity of vision (such as dentistry, surgery or computer work) may find their work more difficult to perform for several days after having the procedure.
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What will I feel during the CK procedure?
The CK procedure is considered painless. You will be aware of a lid support, which helps to hold your eye open. The most common sensation that patients experience is a feeling of pressure on the eye. After surgery, there may be some mild discomfort, which is often managed with drops and/or analgesics. Many patients complain of a foreign-object sensation or a slight "scratchiness" in the eye. This usually subsides within 24-48 hours of the procedure.
What type of anesthesia is used during the CK procedure?
A topical anesthetic in the form of eye drops is used to numb the eye. Some patients who are very nervous and have a high level of anxiety about the procedure will be given a mild sedative to help them relax.
Why doesn't conductive keratoplasty use a laser?
Lasers reshape the cornea by vaporizing (removing) tissue. CK reshapes the cornea using an entirely different method: the application of low-level radiofrequency (RF) energy to specific spots around the cornea. This causes the tissue of the cornea (collagen) to shrink in a very controlled way, creating a constrictive "band" that gives the cornea a steeper shape.
Will the instrument used in the CK procedure penetrate my cornea?
CK is performed using a small pen-like instrument (KeratoplastT Tip) that is as thin as a strand of human hair. The probe, introduced in tiny spots around the outer edges of the cornea, applies controlled radiofrequency (RF) energy, stabilizes the conductive keratoplasty procedure and guarantees the precise depth of treatment. The tip also has a specially designed "stopper" to eliminate the risk of "spotting" the cornea too deeply.
What are the risks and side effects of Conductive Keratoplasty?
Because CK is minimally invasive and very controlled, the procedure has very few side effects. During the first 24 to 48 hours after conductive keratoplasty, you may experience tearing and some discomfort, including a foreign-object sensation in the eyes. You may also experience a slight over-correction of your vision, allowing you to see better up close, though your distance vision may appear slightly blurry at first. This will stabilize during the following weeks.
Are there restrictions after having CK?
As with any other type of vision treatment procedure, certain precautions should be taken. You should avoid getting contaminated water in your eyes for at least one week. This includes water from swimming pools, spas, lakes and the ocean. When showering or taking baths, you should keep your eyes closed in order to avoid getting soap and dirty water in them. When exercising, sweat should be kept out of the eyes for at least a week after surgery. Also, you should avoid rubbing your eyes vigorously for two weeks following the procedure. Eye makeup should not be used for one week after surgery.
Will I ever need glasses or contacts again?
The vast majority of patients do not need corrective lenses of any kind after the CK procedure. However, depending on your age and the type of refractive disorder you have, you may need additional vision treatment at some point (surgery, reading glasses or bifocals). This is because your eyes continue to change as you age.
Can CK treat presbyopia?
Yes! As of late April, 2004, the CK procedure is now FDA approved based on successful Phase III clinical trials to study its effectiveness in treating presbyopia. CK may be used to treat presbyopia through a technique called "blended vision," in which one eye may be treated slightly differently in order to produce a stereo effect, much different than traditional monovision. The minimally invasive technique and excellent safety profile of conductive keratoplasty offer the potential to change the way presbyopic patients are treated.
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Can CK treat myopia (nearsightedness)?
No. CK was designed for hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia, where the cornea requires steepening. Conductive keratoplasty is not designed to flatten the cornea, the effect required for the treatment of myopia.
Can CK be used to treat over- or under-correction from LASIK or other refractive procedures?
CK is currently being studied in an international clinical trial for use in treating over- or under-correction resulting from LASIK and PRK. Many surgeons across the country are using CK to restore reading vision for patients who underwent LASIK at an earlier age to correct their distance vision.
Is CK reversible?
As with most vision treatment procedures, CK is not reversible. Once the procedure has been performed, it is not possible to "remove" its effects. This is an important factor for anyone thinking about surgery to carefully consider. To make sure conductive keratoplasty is right for you, seek the advice of your surgeon.
Will my health insurance cover the cost of the CK procedure?
Because CK is considered elective surgery (cosmetic), most health insurance plans do not cover it. Financing options are available to make CK more affordable. For more information about financing, ask your eye surgeon.
Who is CK right for?
CK has been approved for patients with mild to moderate hyperopia (up to +3.00 diopters) and, ideally, presbyopic patients. The following are some basic criteria you must meet to be considered a good candidate for CK:
- Be at least 40 years of age
- Have no drastic changes in vision or eyeglass prescription within the past year
- Have no serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, severe dryness, keratoconus, herpes of the eye, aggressive keloid formation or corneal dystrophy
- Have no "uncontrolled" systemic (physical) conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy or nursing, and vascular or autoimmune diseases
The ideal candidates for NearVision CK seem to be the "baby boomers" who can answer "yes" to the following 3 questions:
- Are you over the age of 45?
- Have you had great vision all your life at distance (without glasses?)
- Do you now struggle to read your newspaper, the menu in a restaurant, price tags when shopping, your computer screen, etc. without your reading glasses?
To determine if you are a candidate for conductive keratoplasty, obtain a thorough examination from our doctors and seek their recommendation.
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