Refractive Surgery: Laser Thermal Keratoplasty (LTK) - Fairview Health Services
 
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Refractive Surgery: Laser Thermal Keratoplasty (LTK)

LTK (laser thermal keratoplasty) is a technique for reshaping corneal tissue to help you see better without glasses or corrective lenses. This procedure uses a holmium laser to gently heat certain areas of the cornea. It shrinks the outer portion of the cornea, making the central cornea steeper.

Drawing of eye showing the treated part of the cornea

What to Expect During the Procedure

  • Before treatment, you may be given medication to help you relax.

  • Eyedrops numb your eyes. A device is used to keep your eyes open.

  • Laser treatment lasts a few seconds for each eye.

  • Your vision should start to improve right away. It may take 3–6 months for your vision to become stable.

Pros of LTK

  • Very safe procedure with few complications

  • No touch procedure (no cutting or removal of corneal tissue)

  • No scarring in the central cornea

  • Low risk of dry eyes

  • Immediate vision improvement

Cons of LTK

  • Vision improvement may wear off over time

  • May take several months for vision to become stable

  • Risk of undercorrection or overcorrection

  • Risk of loss of best corrected vision

Laser Thermal Keratoplasty machine

 

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