Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK)

Astigmatic keratotomy, or AK, is a subcategory of radial kerototomy. Although AK is a safe and effective form of refractive surgery, in recent years the procedure has been largely replaced by LASIK.

People who have astigmatism have a misshapen cornea. Astigmatic keratotomy corrects astigmatism by making one or two incisions at the steepest part of the cornea. These incisions cause the cornea to relax and take a more rounded shape. It is often used in combination with other vision correction surgeries.

People with mild refractive errors generally have the best success in obtaining normal vision after astigmatic keratotomy eye surgery. People with more severe astigmatisms may still require glasses or contact lenses after astigmatic keratotomy eye surgery.

There are several disadvantages to AK, including:

  • Slow healing process of about three months
  • Discomfort, usually lasting two to three days
  • Results, both good and bad, are irreversible

Although rare, side effects from astigmatic keratotomy eye surgery can occur. They may include:

  • Fluctuating vision, especially during the first few months after surgery
  • A weakened cornea, more vulnerable to rupture if hit directly
  • Infection
  • Difficulty in fitting contact lenses
  • Glare or starburst around lights that can sometimes be permanent
  • Light sensitivity