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Superficial Keratectomy in Nashville, TN

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What is superficial keratectomy?

Superficial keratectomy, also called the Super K surgery, is a procedure that is conducted to smoothen or excise the anterior (outer) layer of the cornea, or the epithelium. The smoothing or removal of this outermost layer may be required for those who have specific eye disorders, such as band keratopathy, anterior corneal dystrophy, or Salzmann's nodular degeneration. Any of these conditions may lead to scar tissue, calcium buildup, or other kinds of corneal opacities that can hinder or cloud a person's vision. This treatment may also be helpful for individuals who have experienced corneal scarring due to trauma, injury, or previous ocular surgery. Aside from impaired vision, these issues may also lead to chronic dry eye, a gritty sensation, or serious discomfort. A Super K procedure can level and filter out damaged epithelial tissue, which will begin to regenerate once more over several days to produce clearer, healthier cells.

At Wang Vision Institute, our highly trained ophthalmologists hone an impressive surgical skill set and are able to treat a range of corneal conditions. Depending on your individual situation, we may perform a superficial keratectomy (Super K) or phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK) to enhance your eye health. Contact our Nashville, TN ocular center at your earliest convenience if you've experienced pain, cloudy vision, or other potential warning signs.

What are the benefits of superficial keratectomy?

Any issues with the cornea can cause problems that impact your quality of life. Chronic dry eye and discomfort are two common examples. A superficial keratectomy relieves a wide range of symptoms that come from corneal disorders so you can enjoy better vision and fewer side effects. Additional benefits of our procedure may include:

  • Improved vision
  • Reduced pain and discomfort
  • A clearer, healthier cornea
  • Stimulation of cell regeneration
  • Reduced risk of further damage to the cornea

Who is a candidate for SUPERFICIAL KERATECTOMY?

Ideal candidates for a Super K procedure (superficial keratectomy) are those who are physically healthy but currently experiencing difficulties as a result of a corneal disorder or a disorder that affects the epithelium. A few of the conditions that could require treatment with SK are: 

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

Individuals who plan to receive cataract surgery could also consider undergoing a superficial keratectomy.


The superficial keratectomy is conducted on an outpatient basis and uses local anesthesia. It is a quick and safe surgery that usually can be completed after a short period of several minutes. First, your eyes will be numbed to ensure that your comfort level is maintained throughout the treatment. Once your eyes are fully numb, one of our skilled eye surgeons will place a special device over the eye to prevent blinking or movement. While the effects of the numbing drops are active, you will only feel minor pressure from the device.

From there, our surgeons will utilize advanced techniques to excise the damaged corneal tissue. A tiny, fine tool will then be used to smooth the surface of the epithelium. Another instrument may then be used to delicately polish away any further trauma or damage. After the treatment has concluded, we will apply a bandage contact lens to the eye for added protection during the healing process.

how long is recovery after SUPERFICIAL KERATECTOMY?

Prior to your treatment, a member of our team will write you prescriptions for antibiotics, lubrication, and steroid eye drops, which will need to be filled before your procedure is scheduled. This way, you will be able to jump right into using them after your superficial keratectomy.

Once your procedure is complete, we will provide you with detailed post-op instructions that you will need to follow carefully and with dedication. These will include how and when to use your prescription eye drops, tips to avoid touching your eyes, and how long you will need to perform post-treatment care. You will be asked to return to our Nashville, TN office to attend a follow-up appointment so we can check your progress and monitor your eye health. Additional check-ins may be scheduled after this initial follow-up, and you will be asked to come to these appointments as well. If you follow your aftercare instructions properly, you may notice clearer vision after just two weeks.

Superficial keratectomy FAQs

Is superficial keratectomy safe?

Yes, superficial keratectomy is considered a safe treatment option for those experiencing corneal issues due to scarring, injury, or previous surgery. Wang Vision Institute takes every precaution to ensure your procedure is as safe and successful as possible. We can also review potential risks and side effects during your consultation.

Does superficial keratectomy hurt?

No, superficial keratectomy is not considered a painful procedure. However, you may experience some mild discomfort or irritation immediately following treatment as your eyes heal and adjust. Dr. Wang understands that each patient experiences pain differently, so we will prescribe medications according to your needs.

How do I make recovery easier?

The recovery process following superficial keratectomy is generally short. To help ensure a smooth healing process, be sure to follow all post-operative instructions provided by your ophthalmologist. This may include using medicated eye drops, avoiding makeup or contact lenses, and refraining from rubbing or touching your eyes.


Our renown team of highly skilled eye surgeons at Wang Vision Institute has successfully improved the vision and eye health of hundreds — if not thousands — of patients with anterior corneal damage. The superficial keratectomy is a safe, quick, and efficient procedure that causes little to no discomfort and effectively decreases or removes your corneal disease symptoms. If you've been experiencing issues related to your eye health, contact our team at Wang Vision Institute in Nashville, TN to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

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