Keratoconus is typically a genetic condition. It is characterized by progressive thinning and steepening of the central cornea into a cone-like shape. This shape change causes patients to gradually lose their vision and each eye can be affected differently. Typically, vision loss can be corrected early by spectacles or soft contact lenses. Later due to abnormal shape of the cornea and the onset of increased myopia and irregular astigmatism, rigid contact lenses are required for optical correction. Approximately 20% of patients with keratoconus eventually can’t wear contact lenses and would need a corneal transplant. The new solution for these patients is INTACS.
Treatment Options for Keratoconus
The goal of Crosslinking is to halt or stabilize the progression of keratoconus in early stages. It will not necessarily correct your vision or eliminate the need of glasses and contact lenses. The Crosslinking procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at our laser surgery center. Crosslinking is a chemical reaction between two polymer chains to strengthen the cornea which inherently is weaker than the normal cornea. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) eye drops will be placed onto the patient’s eye then exposed to ultraviolet (UVA) light which is designed to strengthen the corneal structure and improve the corneal shape. Patients who undergo Crosslinking may be able to wear contact lenses after the eye is completely healed. They may also proceed with alternative treatments to treat keratoconus such as the INTACS procedure. We currently use the Avedro KXL System which has been approved by the FDA.
Intrastromal corneal ring segments (INTACS) are two semi-circular arches made of PMMA material implanted into channels inside the cornea to strengthen and reshape the cornea, helping to restore it to its natural shape. Successful outcomes result in:
- Patient’s ability to return to wearing spectacles or contact lenses for extended periods of time to correct their vision
- Achieve improved vision in most instances and,
- This procedure is done under local anesthesia in our state-of-the-art laser center.
Additionally, INTACS have shown to defer the need for corneal transplant in many cases and to potentially slow progression of the disease. In patients who are no longer able to achieve adequate vision with contact lenses or glasses, INTACS have recently been approved for the treatment of Keratoconus by the FDA.