In September 1983, Spencer P. Thornton, M.D., director of research for the Eye Foundation of Tennessee located in Nashville, reported that a high success rate had been obtained in a series of patients undergoing radial keratotomy for myopia. “An overall average of 73 percent of our patients having between 2 diopters and 18.5 D of myopia attained 20/40 or better uncorrected vision,” he stated to the Biennial Canadian Contact and Intraocular Lens Conference in Toronto. Jean Robertson, a registered nurse and certified ophthalmic technician, assisted him in the collection of data.
The series consisted of two hundred consecutive patients who underwent operations after November 1979. The lowest degree of myopia was -2.00 D, while the highest amount was -18.5 D. The longest follow-up period was 3.5 years. All patients in the series were followed for at least one year. Approximately 71 percent of the patients had preoperative uncorrected vision of 20/400 or worse.
“Among those patients who had less than 6 D of myopia preoperatively, approximately 80 percent had improvements in vision to 20/40 or better without correction,” Dr. Thornton said. Postoperative acuity of 20/15 to 20/25 was achieved in 43 percent of the patients, and 75 percent of the total patient population was within + 1.00 D or -1.00 D of emmetropia.
In patients with myopia of -3.00 D or less, 86 percent had postoperative vision of 20/40 or better. Seventy-six percent of patients whose myopia ranged from -3.00 D to -5.00 D attained 20/40 vision or better postoperatively. In those with -5.00 D to -8.00 D of myopia, 68 percent attained 20/40 or better. Half of those patients with nearsightedness above -8.00 D attained 20/40 vision or better.
Only 2 percent of all patients had over-corrections of myopia that were more than +2.00 D of hyperopia (farsightedness) after one year. “There were no surgery-related complications that resulted in a loss of best-corrected visual acuity of more than one line in any case.” Dr.  Thornton said.  He noted that some patients have lost enough improvement in visual acuity to warrant a second operation. However, no patient has lost all improvement. Second operations were performed either to add more incisions or to deepen existing ones, he added.

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