Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the cornea begins to thin in some areas and “bulge,” changing the naturally round shape. The change in curvature of the cornea results in negative changes in how your eye receives and reflects light, which leads to blurry or distorted vision.
Keratoconus often emerges during a patient’s teen years or early 20’s, and can occur in just one eye or both eyes. Often, patients who are suffering from keratoconus experience regular changes in their prescription with each visit to their eye doctor.
Causes of keratoconus include:
- Overexposure to ultraviolet rays (sunlight)
- Poorly fitted contact lenses
- Chronic eye irritation or excessive eye rubbing
Southern Eye Center offers a number of advanced treatment options for keratoconus.
Corneal cross-linking is an innovative new procedure that can help strengthen and reshape the cornea for clearer vision. Southern Eye Center offers two cross-linking options.
The first option is called epithelium-off cross-linking. In this procedure the thin outer layer of the cornea (called the epithelium) is gently removed, after which riboflavin is added onto the cornea and activated using UV light. This process “links” the riboflavin with the cornea.
The second option is epithelium-on cross-linking, a procedure that is similar to epithelium-off cross-linking but does not require removal of the thin epithelium layer. This option has less risk of infection, less overall discomfort, and more rapid recovery after your procedure.
Less cross-linking (weaker)
More cross-linking (stronger)
Studies have begun to show that corneal cross-linking may reduce the eventual need for patients to consider a corneal transplant, which is a highly advanced procedure with a lengthy recovery time. Cross-linking is also being researched as a treatment option in conjunction with other corneal surgeries such as LASIK.
Customized Soft Contact Lenses
Recent advancements in contact lenses have resulted in specifically-designed lenses that can correct some types of keratoconus.
When other possible treatments or remedies have been tried unsuccessfully, a corneal transplant may be considered. This transplant, also called a Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK), can help clear your vision.