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"The new surgery is called Radial Keratotomy, but in the inner circles it has been nicknamed, "slash for cash," "slice and dice," or "the only surgical procedures with a fool at both ends of the scalpel."
Donald Brockin OD 1985
"It is indeed disturbing to realize, " O'Day adds," that we may be encountering a new iatrogenic disease .... Patients with a previously intact visual system have acquired a disability that in most cases has no ready solution. Their suffering is very real, as
is their anguish over what they now perceive as their own misplaced confidence in this procedure."
Caveat Emptor Tops the Charts for Radial Keratotomy Patients, JAMA, 1985
I am reminded of a cogent statement, the source of which I do not recall: Imagine that we had had no way to correct myopia during the past centuries except with a radial keratotomy operation. Further imagine that some genius invented spectacles ten years ago. That person would probably would have won the Nobel Prize!
Radial Keratotomy: Factors in Medicolegal Claims
Jerome W. Bettman, M.D. SURVEY OF OPHTHALMOLOGY, January-February 1986
"About 10% of ophthalmologists in the United States perform radial keratotomy, but most surgery is done by only 2-3% of the surgeons. Radial keratotomy was especially popular with doctors in the United States from 1980 to 1984, driven by the promise of helping patients, making large sums of money, and the apparent simplicity of the procedure. The popularity died down when the procedure was found not to be as predictable as initially thought"
Surgical correction of nearsightedness, Dr George Waring, 1992.
This site was designed to educate RK patients about the procedure they had to correct their myopia (nearsightedness). There was a vast wealth of medical literature published about this procedure as it was a controversial elective procedure being performed on healthy eyes for profit. This was the first mass marketed medical procedure to be sold to patients. A procedure not designed to save sight or lives but solely to provide a solution for the desires of myopic people to be 'free from glasses'.
Our ultimate goal is to educate the RK patient of the need to protect their weakened corneas from daily living trauma and help in rehabilitating the cornea for those who suffer from RK's lifelong consequences now known as Post RK Syndrome.
Not a day goes by without my contemplation of how to help patients with post-RK syndrome. Finding a safe, effective surgical treatment for hyperopia, fluctuation, and irregular astigmatism is a big challenge. The Grene Lasso works, but this procedure is technically challenging and temporary.
Dr Bruce Grene MD, 2003
Radial keratotomy involves the precise placement of microscopic incisions in the cornea to change its curvature. The object of the procedure is to flatten the cornea and thus correct the nearsightedness by allowing rays of light to focus properly on the retina.
The Facts About Radial Keratotomy, 1985, William Ellis, MD
Ten-Year Results on Radial Keratotomy Released
NEI Press Release
National Institutes of Health
National Eye Institute
October 13, 1994
....the study found that more than 40 percent of RK-operated eyes continued to have a gradual shift toward farsightedness. "Based on these findings, it may be that some people will be pleased with their vision shortly after having RK, but their opinion may change five, ten, or fifteen years down the road," said Peter J. McDonnell, M.D., of the Doheny Eye Institute at the University of Southern California and the study's co-chairman.
Today's findings, published in Archives of Ophthalmology, were issued from the Prospective Evaluation of Radial Keratotomy (PERK). The PERK study is the first large, well-designed clinical study to evaluate the long-term effects of radial keratotomy on the eye and vision.
Interestingly, the PERK scientists reported that 43 percent of the RK-operated eyes continued to have a gradual change toward farsightedness, called hyperopic shift. In fact, 36 percent of the eyes had became farsighted at the 10-year point.
Ruptured Globes Following Radial and Hexagonal Keratotomy Surgery
"Conclusions: As radial keratotomy becomes more popular, the pool of patients who may experience traumatic ruptured globe will grow. Every patient who has had radial keratotomy should be aware that the surgery has weakened the eye(s)."
(Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114:129-134).
Paul F. Vinger, MD; William F. Mieler, MD; James H. Oestreicher, MD; Michael Easterbrook, MD
"...one patient who was poked in the eye while playing basketball and had a leaky rupture through one RK incision and the other was a female who was struck in the eye during a pillow fight and came in with iris sticking out of the wound."
Dr Richard Nieman -1985
Radial Keratotomy (RK) - Eyes needlessly damaged
"Indeed, those who fail to heed prior mistakes are doomed to repeat them—to the detriment of our patients and our professional reputations." (George Waring, MD, 1999)
RK was introduced into the United States in 1978 without proper scientific assessment of long-term safety and efficacy. The RK technique consisted of radial corneal incisions made manually with a blade. In the 1980's, widespread concern about the procedure began to build and RK was eventually abandoned to the junk heap of refractive surgeries.
"It is well documented that RK incisions never completely heal..." (Nassaralla et al, 2007)
Like the LASIK flap, RK incisions never heal and remain open for the rest of a patient's life. This situation exposes RK patients to a life-long increased risk for corneal infection and even internal ocular inflammation and infection. RK patients who develop untreatable infections may be required to undergo corneal transplant, sometimes even many years after RK.