What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus literally means "a cone-shaped cornea." The cornea or "window of the eye" thins, resulting in progressive nearsightedness and astigmatism over time.
What causes it?
The cause of keratoconus is unknown but is believed to be genetic with more males than females acquiring the condition. Eye rubbing, hard contact lenses and genetic factors have all been implicated.
What is usually done for keratoconus?
The vast majority of patients with keratoconus can be visually corrected with special gas permeable contact lenses which we fit in our office. These patients may require many lens changes over a lifetime as the cornea is constantly changing. The corneal thinning may stop or progress at any age.
In some cases we need to use a "piggyback" modality in which a gas permeable contact lens and a soft contact lens is used on the same eye simultaneously.
In less than 10% of cases, a corneal transplant may be needed. Corneal transplants are the most successful of all organ transplants with a success rate of greater than 96% in patients with keratoconus.
New Treatment for Improving Keratoconus
There is now a treatment to halt the progression and future deterioration of the cornea due to keratoconus. It's called C3-RSM and consists of applying a one-time dose of riboflavin drops to the cornea and exposing the cornea to a low amount of ultraviolet A light. The activated riboflavin enhances corneal strength and integrity by increasing collagen cross linking.
The procedure only takes 30 minutes and the day after the procedure our patients can return to work and can resume contact lens wear.
In a three year study of patients with actively progressing keratoconus, the condition was reversed by a significant amount. The improvement persisted over the three years without a single complication. It is a very safe procedure. When combined with Intact corneal implants, the results are even better.
Ask us and we'll be glad to schedule you for a consultation on these procedures.