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Conductive keratoplasty (CK) is an FDA-approved procedure that corrects farsightedness (with or without astigmatism). The non-invasive procedure uses radiofrequency energy to change the curvature of the cornea. This can help correct presbyopia and low hyperopia (farsightedness). Presbyopia is an age-related disease that affects near visual acuity over time.
Other eye surgeries can correct these refractive errors, like LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). However, when compared, a CK procedure is noninvasive, doesn't use lasers, is lower in costs, and just as effective.
In some cases, conductive keratoplasty is a preferred or more suitable type of refractive surgery for some individuals due to the following reasons:
The procedure is trademarked by Refractec Inc. under the name NearVision CK.
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The CK procedure only takes a few minutes. An ophthalmologist uses a small tool (keratoplast tip) to send low-level into your cornea. The electrical physics from the radio frequency raises the tissue temperature of the thickest layer of your cornea (peripheral stroma) to 65°C. This shrinks the collagen in your tissue.
The surgeon will do this in a circular pattern around the peripheral of your eye. This shrinkage tightens the middle of your cornea, increasing your corneal curvature. This gives you stronger refractive power and corrects your near vision. Most people notice better near vision immediately after the procedure. However, it usually takes a few weeks for full correction to settle in. Most people do not need reading glasses after this.
Eye surgeons will use different techniques to perform conductive keratoplasty. Here is one example of a CK procedure that may occur:
It is important to remember that individuals should stop wearing soft contact lenses at least 2 weeks before the examination. In the case of rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, individuals should discontinue use at least 4 weeks before the examination plus 1 additional week for every 10 years.
Conductive keratoplasty offers many benefits. Here is a list of advantages of this type of surgery:
Overall uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA) of 20/40 or better has been reported in 89% of patients with hyperopia or astigmatism who received CK.
Monovision is a type of vision correction where one eye is corrected for near vision while the other is stronger for distance vision. If you have presbyopia but good distance vision, your surgeon may recommend CK on one eye.
Before surgery, your doctor may advise you to try monovision correction with contact lenses. This will help you determine whether you can adapt to monovision. If this is successful, you may be a good candidate for monovision CK.
The majority of CK side-effects are temporary, and include:
Individuals who are not good candidates for laser procedures like LASIK may find conductive keratoplasty more suitable for their needs. These individuals may have problems with the eye’s anatomical structure (small corneal diameter, too steep or flat cornea, deep orbit, etc.) or psychological concerns (fear of laser use or removal of corneal tissue, etc.).
The ideal candidate for conductive keratoplasty have the following characteristics:
Individuals who should not undergo this type of refractive procedure include:
Individuals who have a pacemaker should not undergo this procedure, as radio waves emitted during the surgery may affect the heart device’s performance.
Insurance companies do not provide coverage for conductive keratoplasty. This means that it is an elective procedure, and prices will differ depending on various factors. Some of these factors include a surgeon’s experience, the location of the ophthalmology clinic, and more.
The price range for this type of surgery runs between $1,000 and $2,000 per eye. However, the price can be higher.
It is best to speak with the ophthalmology clinic to consider all financing options, including monthly payments or an interest-fixed loan.
“Conductive Keratoplasty.” University of Utah Health, www.healthcare.utah.edu/moran/lasik/conductive-keratoplasty.php.
Du, Ted T; Fan, Vincent C; Asbell, Penny A Conductive keratoplasty, Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: July 2007 - Volume 18 - Issue 4 - p 334-337 https://journals.lww.com/co-ophthalmology/Abstract/2007/07000/Conductive_keratoplasty.11.asp.