At Nevada Eye Consultants, our ophthalmologists use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to effectively treat a wide range of corneal conditions. Skilled and experienced in corneal procedures, they can accurately diagnose your condition and recommend an effective treatment option that can suit your needs and protect your vision.
Keratoconus is an eye condition characterized by the cornea taking on a cone-like shape and causing vision distortion. Under normal circumstances, the cornea is round. Keratoconus typically causes the cornea to become thin and expand outward, shifting the manner in which light enters the eye. Most patients with keratoconus develop the condition in their teens or early 20s, and the disease can impact either one or both eyes. This disease may result from a number of factors, including:
- Corneal enzyme imbalance
- Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays
- Chronic eye irritation
Keratoconus is considered a progressive disease, which means that as the condition worsens, additional vision problems may develop. As the cornea continues to change shape, distortion, light sensitivity, nearsightedness, and irregular astigmatism may all become more advanced. In addition, a significant and rapid change in the patient’s vision prescription often occurs.
For patients with a mild case of keratoconus, regular prescription eyewear may help correct the vision distortion. Patients with more severe cases often benefit from specialized contact lenses. Custom soft contact lenses, gas permeable contact lenses, and scleral contact lenses can all help stabilize vision.
Corneal Crosslinking (CXL)
Corneal crosslinking, also referred to as CXL, is a treatment designed to strengthen and stabilize the cornea for patients affected by keratoconus. By introducing and activating riboflavin (a B vitamin), stronger bonds are created within the cornea to prevent the surface from bowing out. Corneal crosslinking can successfully treat keratoconus and often prevent the need for a corneal transplant. This innovative treatment can also be combined with INTACS® implants to resolve the vision distortions associated with keratoconus.
Approved by the FDA in 2004, INTACS® corneal inserts can produce clearer vision for patients suffering from keratoconus. Removable and exchangeable, these small plastic inserts can be surgically placed in the eye in about ten minutes. While INTACS® corneal inserts cannot prevent keratoconus from progressing, they can significantly improve the vision of patients struggling with the disease.
For patients with severe cases of keratoconus who cannot improve their vision with less invasive treatments and procedures, a corneal transplant can be performed to preserve their vision. Each corneal transplant (also known as penetrating keratoplasty) is individually customized to meet the patient’s unique needs. Though some patients will still need to wear prescription eyewear after their surgery, others can have their eyesight almost entirely restored.
Contact Nevada Eye Consultants
To learn more about corneal conditions, including keratoconus, or to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors, please contact us today.