Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition where the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, thins and gradually bulges into a cone shape. This condition can lead to distorted and blurred vision that is unable to be corrected with standard glasses or contact lenses. While there is no cure for keratoconus, several treatments are available to manage its progression and improve the vision. With the right type of contact lens, patients with keratoconus can have restored clear vision and be able to enjoy all activities of daily living such as driving, sports, using the computer, reading, and outdoor activities!
Treatments for Keratoconus include:
- Prescription Eyeglasses: In the early stages of keratoconus, mild to moderate visual distortions can often be corrected with eyeglasses. These may need frequent updates as the condition progresses. Vision through glasses will often not be as clear as through contact lenses, however patients with keratoconus should always have a pair of back up glasses in addition to contact lenses. Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lenses: Rigid Gas Permeable lenses are small diameter contact lenses that rest on the cornea to provide clear vision.
- Scleral Lenses: These large-diameter lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera (white part of the eye), providing a more comfortable fit and improved vision.
- Hybrid Lenses: These lenses combine an RGP center with a soft outer skirt, offering the visual benefits of RGP lenses with increased comfort of a soft lens. Though not done at Insight Vision Center Optometry, the following surgical procedures are also available for patients with Keratoconus:
- Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL): This minimally invasive procedure involves applying riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops to the cornea and then exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light. CXL strengthens the collagen fibers in the cornea, potentially halting or slowing the progression of keratoconus.
- Corneal Transplant (Penetrating Keratoplasty or Partial Thickness): When keratoconus has progressed to a severe stage where other treatments are ineffective, a corneal transplant may be necessary. During this procedure, the damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea.
It’s essential for individuals with keratoconus to have regular exams with their eye doctor to monitor the condition’s progression and adjust treatments as needed. Earlier detection and intervention will ensure the best visual outcome and health of the eyes.