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What is the normal healing time following an astigmatic keratotomy and what normal side effects should one expect?
Astigmatic keratotomy (AK) is performed for correction of corneal astigmatism (irregular shape of the cornea). AK is most commonly performed after cataract surgery (where it is referred to as limbal relaxing incisions) or after high amounts of astigmatism after a cornea transplant (astigmatism is the most common occurrence after cornea transplantation). Its use is less common today due to very good results of laser vision correction with either LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) in the correction of corneal astigmatism and the use of toric lens implants to correct astigmatism with cataract surgery. A number of variables can predict how quickly vision stabilizes after AK. These include dry eye syndrome, decreased corneal sensation, concurrent corneal diseases, and eyelid inflammatory conditions such as blepharitis and meibomian gland disease (blocking and inflammation of oil glands in the eyelid). These factors may cause a two or three month lag before vision stabilizes after AK. If astigmatism remains after AK, laser vision correction can be used to fine-tune vision correction or a contact lens can be used to correct residual astigmatism with either a soft toric contact lens or rigid gas permeable contact lens.
Answered by: W. Barry Lee, MD
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