Hyperopic ALK

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:48 pm
Hyperopic (hy-per-AW-pik) automated lammelar keratectomy (luh-MEL-lur care-uh-TECK-tuh-mee), is a procedure used to reduce low to moderate levels of farsightedness. It involves making an incision in the eye’s cornea with a surgical blade. The internal pressure of the eye stretches the thin corneal surface, causing it to bulge forward. This bulge allows the eye to focus better on images up close. Since the accuracy of ALK is not perfect, the surgeon will usually aim for a result in which the patient remains slightly farsighted. ALK is also used to correct nearsightedness, but in this instance, layers of the cornea are removed to flatten the surface and allow the eye to focus better on distant objects. The ALK procedure was developed over 20 years ago in South America, and has been carefully studied and performed for several years in the U.S. During this time, the number of procedures has increased dramatically. The surgery is done on an outpatient basis, and usually takes less than an hour. Numbing anesthetic drops are placed in the eye before surgery, so you should feel no pain at any time. After surgery, a shield will be placed on your eye for about a day. You may experience slight discomfort for a few days after surgery, but this is normal as your eye heals. As with any surgery, there is always a slight risk of infection, but this can easily be treated with antibiotics.
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