Phototherapeutic Keratectomy – PTK

The problem

  • The front of the cornea has an irregular shape causing irritation, reduced vision, contact lens intolerance or pain


  • This Excimer laser is used also for refractive surgery
  • A laser is required to smooth and polish the cornea restoring vision 
  • During surgery, you will note an unusual smell from the gas discharge of the laser. This is NORMAL
  • The time for surgery is variable depending on the type of problem, around 30 minutes
  • No stitches are required, and a contact lens may be placed before padding the eye.
  • The pad is removed day 1.
  • The eye will be sore until the skin grows back over the cornea

After Surgery

  • The eye may appear slightly red, and this may last a few days
  • Discomfort is normal, especially in the first few days. Pain relief tablets will help
  • Vision may take several weeks to return to normal, as the skin of the eye remodels
  • You may need to change your glasses, and Dr Maloof will advise when this can be done 
  • In some cases, the original disease process can recur years later

What to do

  • Leave the contact lens in place
  • Commence eye drops the next day after removing your pad
  • Take any pain relief prescribed 
  • Continue any glaucoma eye drops
  • You may be given anesthetic drop for comfort. Please only use one drop every 4 hours, for 3 days
  • Expect some discomfort to sunlight or bright lights
  • Expect some side effects from pain relief medications including nausea, dizziness, and constipation