The cornea is the clear covering over the colored iris and pupil of the eye. The cornea and lens of the eye help focus light on the retina so that the eye can see.
Radial keratotomy is used to correct nearsightedness, also called myopia. Myopia occurs when the cornea and lens focus light in front of, rather than on, the retina. Correction of myopia with radial keratotomy eliminates the need for corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses).
While you are awake and pain-free (using local anesthesia), a series of delicate incisions are made around the cornea. This flattens the center of the cornea in order to change the focus of light rays on the retina. Each eye is operated on separately, and on different days.
An eye patch or dark glasses are worn for several days. The final outcome of your corrected vision can take up to several months.
Advances in refractive surgery are being made rapidly. New procedures that are slowly replacing radial keratotomy are being used more frequently. Use of the Excimer laser has greatly improved refractive surgery. Consultation with a specialist is advised before deciding on a particular procedure.
Reviewed By: Paul B. Griggs, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle , WA . Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.