Other Corneal Procedures
A pterygium is a small web-like vascular growth that occurs typically around the nasal (toward the nose) or temporal (toward the temple) aspect of the cornea. The elevated growth typically develops on the outside edge of the cornea and grows in toward the center of the eye’s surface. Doctors are still researching the exact cause of ptergia, however, studies show that prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays and dry or windy conditions lead to the growth. This makes the condition more prominent in patients who live in warm climates. The symptoms are not often severe, but may include chronic redness or irritation of the eye as well as blurry vision. Most patients complain of burning, scratchy feeling or itchiness. A pterygium grows slowly and may not affect vision until it grows into the central part of the cornea. Once a pterygium leads to sufficient irritation or decreased vision, surgery to remove the growth can be performed on an outpatient basis. There is typically a mild degree of discomfort for the week following the surgery. Dr. Barnhorst uses the latest techniques to minimize pain and also lead to a very low level of recurrence.
PTK (Phototherapeutic Keratectomy)
The same laser that is used to perform LASIK or PRK (photorefractive-keratectomy) laser eye surgery has also been approved by the FDA to treat certain superficial (surface) corneal diseases due to scars or corneal dystrophies. During the PTK procedure, the excimer laser is used to gently and precisely remove scars or irregularities in the superficial layers of the cornea. The laser enables us to create a much smoother surface than if we were to remove such scars or irregularities by more traditional methods such as by hand with a scalpel or burr. Because the nature of corneal irregularities can vary widely, it is very important that patients have the PTK procedure performed by an experienced corneal surgeon who is familiar with various PTK techniques and can tailor the laser treatment to the unique corneal disorder. There is an art to performing PTK and, as an experienced corneal surgeon who has been performing PTK procedures since 1996, Dr. Barnhorst has the experience and knowledge to create the right customized treatment for each patient.