ALK (Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty)

Automated lamellar keratoplasty (ALK) is a surgical procedure to correct an abnormal curvature in the cornea (the transparent front layer of the eye) that prevents it from focusing light accurately on the retina (photosensitive layer at the back of the eye) and producing a clear image. It is indicated for vision abnormalities such as near-sightedness and farsightedness.

Before performing ALK, you are instructed to stop wearing contact lenses for a period. The thickness of your cornea and your visual refractive errors are accurately measured prior to the procedure. ALK is performed under local anaesthesia. A layer of cornea is incised to create an incomplete flap, which is hinged open. The underlying cornea is then precisely incised and shaped to correct your vision. The flap is then closed and allowed to heal naturally. The entire procedure may take about an hour. Eye drops are prescribed to control pain and inflammation, and prevent infection. Healing usually takes about 24 hours but clear vision develops gradually over a few weeks.

As with any surgery, ALK is occasionally associated with certain complications such as scarring, infection, glaring of vision, astigmatism (irregular curvature of the cornea) and difficulty wearing contact lens.