LTK (Laser Thermokeratoplasty) Laser Eye Surgery

What Is Laser Thermokeratoplasty Surgery?

LTK which stands for Thermokeratoplasty is a form of laser vision surgery. This procedure is quick and does not involve any cutting or removal of tissue. This procedure is mainly used to treat long-sightedness.

Who Can Have LTK?

Usually LTK laser eye surgery is only performed on people over the age of 40. This procedure is not suitable for people who are short sighted. The patient would have their eyes fully tested first to make sure they are suitable for surgery.

The Procedure Of LTK

Before surgery the doctor will check the patient's medical history then local anesthetic drops are put in the eyes to numb them. A laser beam is then used to reshape heat and shrink the cornea, this only takes a couple of seconds. The cornea is the front covering of the eye which is transparent, this is a very powerful part of the eye which reflects light. Laser thermokeratoplasty is a short term procedure so more visits to the eye specialist will be needed. Usually results start to fade after 2 - 3 months but in some cases the results can last a few years. After surgery the patient will be given anti-inflammatory drops and antibiotics to ease discomfort and to stop the eye from becoming infected.

Potential Side Effects

LTK laser eye surgery has very little side effects as there is no cutting used, just the use of a laser. There can be some discomfort after the surgery but this will fade after a day or two. Anti-inflammatory eye drops would be used for about a week after surgery to prevent any infections.

How Much Does LTK Surgery Cost?

The cost of laser Thermokeratoplasty surgery depends on the area and the clinic. On average LTK surgery usually costs £600-£1000. This is quite an expensive treatment for short term results but the results are very effective.

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How To Prepare for LTK

Prior to undergoing LTK laser eye surgery, you will have a pre-operative consultation with an adviser.

 Laser Thermokeratoplasty Surgery

During this consultation, your adviser will examine your medical history, and perform a series of eye tests that could measure anything from corneal thickness to pupil dilation. Your surgeon will also want to examine your eyeglasses to ensure the prescription is correct, so make sure to bring these with you to your consultation. During this appointment, you should take the opportunity to ask questions surrounding the preparation, the procedure itself, and the recovery period. Generally, you should abstain from wearing RGP (rigid gas permeable) contact lenses for three weeks ahead of your surgery, while other types of contacts should be removed three days prior to the procedure.

On the day of the surgery itself, eat only a light meal and take any prescribed medication with you. You should refrain from wearing eye makeup, along with anything that could impair you from sitting still under the laser, such as hair accessories or hats. Your nurses will ensure you feel comfortable as soon as you arrive to prepare you for your treatment. However, if you feel in any way unwell ahead of your procedure, phone the clinic as it is likely you will need to rearrange your appointment for another date.

What To Expect After Surgery

Following your LTK laser eye surgery, you will need to attend a number of follow-up appointments. It is likely that one will be scheduled for the following day, week and month, along with other appointments that could span three to six months after the surgery. You will be provided with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops in a bid to prevent infection. During the first week, you may experience nearsightedness, which is perfectly normal. This will improve towards the end of the first week, but you should expect some fluctuation in your vision for up to three months after having undergone the treatment.

How Long Do The Effects Last?

LTK is a temporary procedure, and the results to vision correction are not permanent.

As eye surgeons are aware of this fact, it is common practice to “over-correct” the eyes to allow for a certain amount of regression to take place. This means they correct the eyes more than is medically necessary, which can potentially cause short-sightedness immediately following the procedure. Consequently, you may be required to wear contact lenses or glasses for the initial few weeks after your surgery. Over the first two to three months, your vision could regress noticeably, but the pace of this regression should slow substantially in the following years. Results of LTK can last anywhere from five to 10 years in some cases, but however long the results last, it’s important to remember that it is only ever considered a temporary procedure.

How Does It Differ From Other Procedures?

LTK differs from other popular forms of laser eye correction such as LASEK, LASIK and PRK in terms of both the method and the results.

Firstly, the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is not cut as it is with these procedures. A laser instead used to apply a series of heat spots to the cornea, causing it to contract and therefore alter in shape. However, unlike with LASEK or LASIK for example, the results of LTK are not permanent. Surgeons will often over-correct the eyes to account for the regression that will take place following the surgery. Meanwhile, the results of other laser eye corrective treatments are indeed long-lasting and permanent.

Advantages Of LTK

  • The procedure is quick and simple.
  • Can go back to work the next day.
  • It is highly effective.
  • There is little discomfort.
  • Quick recovery time.
  • Low risk of infection.
  • Makes people more confident.

Disadvantages Of LTK

  • LTK surgery is not permanent.
  • Can be expensive for some people.
  • Not suitable for people under the age of 40.
  • There may be some soreness for a few days after surgery.
  • Some patients may still need to wear glasses for a few days after treatment.

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