Keratoconus Treatment Options
By Walter Choate on March 18, 2014
If you’ve been diagnosed with keratoconus, it’s likely that your primary concern is preserving your vision. While keratoconus can cause your sight to deteriorate if left unaddressed, there are fortunately many treatment options that can help preserve your vision. At Choate Eye Associates in Nashville, we regularly provide patients with successful keratoconus treatment.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a degenerative eye condition that thins the cornea, causing it to develop a conical, rather than rounded, shape. As a result, vision can become distorted, causing double vision, light sensitivity, and streaking (a sensation similar to watching an image blur in slow motion).
The Importance of Treatment
At first, keratoconus symptoms may simply be a minor irritation. However, as vision deteriorates, it can have life-affecting consequences, such as impacting your ability to drive a car, or read a book or computer screen. Addressing symptoms early can help to ensure that your vision remains clear and stable for years to come. Visit your optometrist as soon as you notice vision changes.
Treatments for Keratoconus
Determining which treatment is right for you depends primarily on the severity of your keratoconus.
- Glasses and soft contact lenses. If your keratoconus is relatively mild, an optometrist may be able to prescribe eyeglasses or soft contact lenses that effectively counteract your nearsightedness and astigmatism.
- Hard contact lenses. Often, keratonocus progresses to a degree best treated by hard (also known as “rigid gas permeable”) contact lenses. One of the most common treatments for keratoconus, hard contact lenses help to restore the natural, rounded shape of the cornea by resting atop the irregular surface. The rounded shape of the contact becomes the new refractive surface of the eye, allowing for crisp, clear vision.
- Intacs plastic rings. These thin, semi-circular rings are inserted into the cornea, helping to restore its naturally round surface. By flattening the conical shape of the cornea caused by keratoconus, Intacs improve vision, and can be used alone or in conjunction with glasses or contacts.
- Corneal crosslinking. Collagen crosslinks occur naturally in the eye. Functioning as the cornea’s anchors, they help maintain the cornea’s rounded shape. By saturating the cornea with riboflavin drops that are activated with an ultraviolet light, corneal crosslinking increases the number of collagen crosslinks. This procedure halts the progression of keratoconus, but glasses or contacts will still be required to correct vision.
- Corneal transplant surgery. When keratoconus becomes severe, and cannot be corrected with other treatments, corneal transplant surgery may be necessary. By replacing a portion of your damaged cornea with tissue from a healthy donor cornea, your eye surgeon can restore the rounded shape of the eye - and some of the visual acuity that comes with it.
Are You Seeking Treatment for Keratoconus?
A keratoconus diagnosis can often be a source of anxiety, but treatment can help, and you don’t have to face the threat of deteriorating vision alone. At Choate Eye Associates, our goal is to help you live your life with clear eyesight. To learn more about possible keratoconus treatments, contact us today.
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“I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam.” Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient