So what is Keratoconus? Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted vision. This condition begins in a person’s early 20s, or even sometimes in their teens.
As the cornea becomes more irregular, progressive nearsightedness and irregular astigmatisms occur, meaning that the affected person can get distorted and blurred vision, as well as light sensitivity and proneness to glare. Often times patients can have their prescriptions change regularly due to their changing eyes, which is a sure sign that something is wrong in the eye.
- Contact Lenses
There are many different kinds of contact lenses that are available as treatments, but some of these include:
- Custom soft contact lenses that are specifically designed to correct mild-to-moderate keratoconus
- Gas permeable lenses that are often the preferred treatment if soft lenses aren’t working and will smooth the refracting surface to improve vision
- Piggybacking lenses that involve some states of both the custom soft lenses and the GP lenses that correct long-term keratoconus, and will find a middle ground in the eye fixtures
- Scleral and semi-scleral lenses, which cover sections of the eye and don’t apply pressure to the eye – often a softer version of the other lenses
- Instratromal Rings
Instratromal Rings, or Kerarings, are thin, plastic, semi-circular rings that are inserted into the cornea through femtosecond laser created channels. They have a flattening effect on the steep cornea by eliminating some or all of the irregularities caused by Keratoconus, which usually results in improved vision.
The rate of success of the Keraring procedure depends on the individual and severity of the Keratoconus, however the statistical rate of success is 96% for initial to moderate cases.
Intrastromal rings are also used to treat Keratoconus. The procedure involves inserting clear, semicircular rings in the periphery of the corneal to improve its shape. The success of this procedure can depend on the individual and severity of the Keratoconus, however the statistical rate of success is 96% for mild to moderate cases.
- Corneal crosslinking
This procedure, often called CXL for short, strengthens corneal tissue to halt bulging of the eye’s surface in keratoconus. According to researchers, CXL can effectively stabilized the refractive error and corneal shape of children with keratoconus, while improving their best-corrected visual acuity.
- Corneal Transplants
Corneal transplants are when damaged or diseased cornea – the front cover of the eye that sits over the iris, pupil and anterior chamber – is replaced by donated corneal tissue, usually via a graft.
There are two kinds of surgeries, with penetrating keratoplasty replacing the whole cornea, and lamellar keratoplasty replacing only part of the cornea.
For more information on Keratoconus, and ways that you can manage it once you are diagnosed, visit www.keratoconusaustralia.com.au or call Hunter Laser Vision on 1800-44-20-20 and speak to one of the eye care specialists.