Superficial Keratectomy (Super K, SK) – Greenbelt, MD

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About Superficial Keratectomy

Superficial keratectomy (SK), often referred to as the Super K procedure, is done to smooth or remove the outermost (anterior) layer of the cornea, the epithelium. Smoothing or removal of the epithelium might become necessary for patients who have certain eye diseases, such as anterior corneal dystrophy, band keratopathy, or Salzmann's nodular degeneration, that cause calcium buildup, scar tissue, and other types of corneal opacities that can impair or block vision. It can also be beneficial for patients who have corneal scarring from an injury or previous eye surgery. Beyond the vision impairment, these problems can also cause chronic eye dryness, a sensation of grittiness, and even pain. A superficial keratectomy is able to smooth away the damaged epithelial tissue, which regenerates on its own over a period of days with healthier, clearer cells.

At Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, we have some of the most experienced and skilled cornea surgeons in Maryland. We perform successful superficial keratectomies on a regular basis for our Greenbelt and Bowie, MD area patients.

Best Candidates

The best candidates for superficial keratectomy (SK) are otherwise healthy individuals who suffer from corneal disorders that affect the epithelium. Some of these conditions include: 

  • Salzmann's nodular degeneration
  • Calcific band keratopathy
  • Anterior basement membrane dystrophy (ABMD)
  • Reis-Buckler's dystrophy
  • Superficial corneal scarring
  • Recurrent corneal erosion (RCE)
  • Complications after LASIK

Some patients who are planning to undergo cataract surgery also consider having SK. For these patients, smoothing any irregularities of the epithelium can help ensure that the refractive measurements of their new artificial lens are perfect.

What to Expect

A superficial keratectomy is performed as an outpatient procedure with local anesthetic. It is a very safe, quick treatment that is typically completed in just a few minutes. Your eyes will be completely numbed prior to beginning the surgery to ensure your maximum comfort. Then, the surgeon will place a special device over your eye to keep you from blinking or moving the eye. Due to the numbing drops, you will only feel a slight sensation of pressure from the device. 

The surgeon will then use a combination of techniques to remove the damaged corneal tissue. A very small, fine instrument will be used to manually smooth the surface of the epithelium, and a device called a diamond burr might be used to gently polish out any deeper damage. When the procedure is complete, a bandage contact lens will be placed in the eye to protect it while it heals. 

Follow-Up

Before your procedure, we will give you prescriptions for an antibiotic, steroid, and lubrication eye drops. You'll need to have these filled before your procedure takes place so that you can begin using them immediately afterward. 

After your procedure is completed, you will be given very important aftercare instructions, including when and how to use the drops and tips for how to avoid touching your eyes. You will be required to come back to Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons the day following your procedure so we can monitor your progress, and we may ask you to come back for one or more further follow-ups. When aftercare instructions are followed properly, most patients recover and have clear vision in about two weeks. 

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You can clear your corneas

The board-certified ophthalmologists and expert surgeons at Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons have successfully treated hundreds of Maryland men and women with anterior corneal disease or damage. A superficial keratectomy is a quick, safe, and relatively pain-free procedure that can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of your corneal condition. Contact us at our Greenbelt or Bowie, MD office soon to find out if the SK procedure could be the solution you need.  

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.