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THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RK (RADIAL KERATOTOMY)

Referring to statistics based on studies of 15,126 patients who underwent RK in the United States, Robert H. Marmer, M.D., in private practice of ophthalmology in Atlanta, in June 1984, told Ophthalmology Times, the monthly magazine distributed to the entire ophthalmic profession, “Radial keratotomy appears to be safe and effective, judging from results with patients followed up for five years in the United States and more than ten years in the Soviet Union.”
Dr. Marmer further stated, “Eighty-five percent of patients with -2.00 diopters (D) to -6.00 D of myopia, and even some with up to -8.00 D, have achieved a visual acuity of 20/40 or better. Above the predictive area of -10.00 D [definite high myopia] this figure does not hold true. Such patients should be advised that they may not be corrected completely by surgery. A -10.00 D patient might expect reduction to -3.00 D of myopia, although complete emmetropia [parallel rays of light, when the eye is at rest, are focused exactly on the retina] is possible. Hopefully, the majority of patients will not require optical correction postoperatively.”
Radial keratotomy is appropriate for a wide range of patients since it can be tailored to meet individual needs. “This procedure works because the cornea heals in a new position. There is always an initial overcorrection to allow for postoperative regression. The degree of correction and compensation can be varied as needed by applying a formula to data on each patient. Special keratotomy patterns are sometimes used when a patient has a significant amount of astigmatism,” said Dr. Marmer.
He noted that RK may not always provide adequate correction for patients whose major daily activities involve work requiring near vision such as draftsmen or artists, or for those people over forty years of age. “Because older patients tend to be presbyopic, they will probably continue to require spectacle correction for near vision,” said the ophthalmologist. “Those patients in this age range who understand and accept this are definitely candidates for radial keratotomy surgery. This is dramatically illustrated by the 47-year-old ophthalmologist on whom I performed bilateral radial keratotomy surgery and who now functions without optical correction in his busy surgical practice.”
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