What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an early-age onset, a non-inflammatory disorder causing the cornea to thin and protrude into a bulging cone shape as opposed to the typical round dome-shape of a normal cornea.
Keratoconus often referred to as ‘KC’, can cause ‘static’ in your vision and can result in significant visual impairment. This progressive disease usually presents in patients during adolescence and continues to worsen for 10-20 years. Each eye may be affected differently. In the early stages of keratoconus, people might experience:
- Slight blurring of vision
- Distortion of vision
- Increased sensitivity to light
The first choice in treatment for these conditions is correction with rigid contact lenses. Patients who cannot tolerate the rigid lenses have the option of implantation of an intrastromal corneal ring segment (INTACS). Both of these treatments are limited in that they address patients’ symptoms but do not have any effect on the progression or severity of the disease which is the cause of the symptoms.
You can find more information from the National Keratoconus Foundation at www.NKCF.org.
What is Corneal Cross-Linking?
The Cross-linking system is a medical procedure that combines the use of ultra-violet (UV) light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops. The procedure works by creating new bonds between corneal collagen fibers which leads to the stiffening of corneas which have been weakened by disease.
The procedure does not correct your vision, but it will stop the progression of the disease, which could ultimately lead to worsening vision and even a cornea transplant.
Benefits to Patients
• This is the only FDA approved therapeutic treatment available for progressive keratoconus and corneal ectasia
• The procedure can limit the progression of the disease by stiffening the cornea
• The clinical benefits are a reduction in maximum corneal curvature
• The procedure takes about 2 hours, is done within the office, and most patients return to work and normal activities within 24-48 hours
• The procedure is deemed “medically necessary”, which means the evaluation, surgery, and post-operative visits will be processed through your medical insurance.
Cross-linking, which has been performed in Europe since 2003, is considered the standard of care around the world for keratoconus.
Prior to the availability of corneal collagen cross-linking, the only other therapeutic option was a corneal transplant, which is associated with tissue rejection and graft failure, as well as other serious postoperative complications. Younger transplant patients often need to have multiple transplants over the course of their lifetime.
Is Cross-Linking Right for Me?
Those who have been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus should ask their eye doctor about corneal cross-linking. Clear Advantage Vision Correction Center and it’s affiliated sister company, Eyesight Ophthalmic Services, are the first in New Hampshire to offer patients the only therapeutic products for corneal cross-linking. Crosslinking is FDA approved to treat progressive keratoconus.
For information on the FDA approved corneal cross-linking procedure for the treatment of keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery, visit www.EyesightNH.com or schedule your evaluation by calling 603-501-5000.