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Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 1999;22(1):2-10.

A return to primitive practice? Radial keratotomy revisited.


Recently, a refractive surgeon was quoted in the national and professional press as proposing that radial keratotomy (RK) is to be preferred over laser procedures, such as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). The rationale for this public recommendation was that the RK procedure achieves better visual results and fewer complications than the laser procedures. Peer reviewed literature on these refractive procedures was surveyed to establish the validity of such a statement and it was found that current data do not support the notion that RK results in better visual outcomes than PRK and LASIK The true incidence of complications is difficult to establish. However, when the post procedure chronic effects are compared between RK, PRK and LA SIK, it becomes apparent that the post-RK patient pays the highest price, by a large margin, in visual quality impairment and corneal health. Although the visual acuity outcomes for low to moderate myopes, when corrected by any of the three refractive procedures considered here, are not dramatically different, we concluded that RK is not the preferred methodology because of its associated chronic visual and corneal health complications.

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