Here at Fusion Eye Care in Raleigh, NC, one of the questions we often get asked is about the possibility of LASIK surgery after RK has been performed. More often than not, here's how the question is usually asked:
"Dear Dr. Bassiri, I am currently around 60 years of age and underwent successful radial keratotomy surgery back in the 1990s to address my nearsightedness. Regrettably, I am now in need of corrective lenses once again. Putting it bluntly, can a prior radial keratotomy patient become a candidate for LASIK corrective surgery? It is my preference to have my vision corrected a second time to prevent a need for the wearing of corrective lenses, at least for the bulk of the time. My medical background makes me fully aware of the fact that every case is different. I merely wish to know if this idea is worth pursuing."
And while every patient's case is different, in general, here's how I typically respond:
"It can be the case that a prior radial keratotomy patient is a candidate for photorefractive keratectomy (known as PRK). This procedure is somewhat akin to LASIK, though LASIK itself can be difficult for such patients given the fact that radial keratotomy cuts are not always compatible with the LASIK flap. A PRK procedure has the potential to be successful in addressing refractive error following radial keratotomy. However, given the age factor involved, the ideal option may be to wait a bit and have cataract surgery or, in the alternative, a refractive lens exchange procedure (RLE).
RLE is similar to a cataract procedure in that the crystalline lens that evolves into a cataract with age is swapped for a corrective implant lens. Many implant options exit to help correct a patient's vision. Your surgical professional will be able to explain the possibilities and make a sound recommendation for your specific needs. The main takeaway to keep in mind that options are available to further improve your vision, even though you have already undergone radial keratotomy."
With that said though, we highly recommend that if you find yourself in this exact situation, that you please schedule an appointment to come by our office here in Raleigh so that we can do a thorough analysis to determine the best course of action for you. To do so, please call our office at (919) 977-7480.