Keratoconus Eye Disease Treatment
We see through the cornea, which is the clear, central part of the front surface of the eye. Normally, the cornea has a dome shape, like a ball. Sometimes, however, the structure of the cornea is just not strong enough to hold this round shape and the cornea bulges outward like a cone. This condition is called keratoconus, and keratoconus eye disease treatment can range from new glasses to custom lenses.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Tiny fibers of protein in the eye called collagen help hold the cornea in place and keep it from bulging. When these fibers become weak, they cannot hold the shape and the cornea becomes progressively more cone shaped.
Keratoconus appears to run in families. If you have it and have children, it’s a good idea to have their eyes checked for it starting at age 10.
The condition happens more often in people with certain medical problems, including certain allergic conditions. It’s possible the condition could be related to chronic eye rubbing. Most often, though, there is no eye injury or disease that can explain why the eye starts to change.
Keratoconus usually starts in the teenage years. It can, though, begin in childhood or in people up to about age 30. It’s possible it can occur in people 40 and older, but that is less common.
The changes in the shape of the cornea can happen quickly or may occur over several years. The changes can result in blurred vision, glare and halos at night, and the streaking of lights.
The changes can stop at any time, or they can continue for decades. In most people who have keratoconus, both eyes are eventually affected, although not always to the same extent. It usually develops in one eye first and then later in the other eye.
Can Keratoconus Damage Your Vision?
The changes to the cornea can make it impossible for the eye to focus without eyeglasses or contact lenses. In fact, a corneal transplant may be needed to restore vision if the condition is severe.
Laser vision correction surgery — PRK Eye Surgery – can be dangerous for people with Keratoconus. Early detection scenarios have been unique cases where surgery was effective.
How Is Keratoconus Diagnosed?
Keratoconus changes vision in two ways:
- As the cornea changes from a ball shape to a cone shape, the smooth surface becomes slightly wavy. This is called irregular astigmatism.
- As the front of the cornea expands, vision becomes more nearsighted. That is, only nearby objects can be seen clearly. Anything too far away will look like a blur.
An eye doctor may notice symptoms during an eye exam. You may also mention symptoms that could be caused by keratoconus. These include:
- Sudden change of vision in just one eye
- Double vision when looking with just one eye
- Objects both near and far looking distorted
- Bright lights looking like they have halos around them
- Lights streaking
- Seeing triple ghost images
To be sure you have keratoconus, your doctor needs to measure the curvature of the cornea. There are several different ways this can be done.
One instrument, called a keratometer, shines a pattern of light onto the cornea. The shape of the reflection tells the doctor how the eye is curved. There are also computerized instruments that make three-dimensional “maps” of the cornea.
How Is Keratoconus Treated?
Keratoconus eye disease treatment usually starts with new eyeglasses. If eyeglasses don’t provide adequate vision, then contact lenses may be recommended.
With mild cases, new eyeglasses can usually make vision clear again.
New Soft Lens Treatment for Keratoconus
A new approach to keratoconus eye disease treatment offers the comfort of a soft lens; custom parameters, including cylinder correction to -10.00D; and the kind of straightforward fitting not found in hybrids, Alden Optical’s new NovaKone™ soft lens for keratoconus is it. While NovaKone lenses can be a viable solution for all stages of keratoconus, they’re especially effective for patients with more advanced conditions, those who have failed to tolerate GPs, or who have been unsuccessful with hybrid and scleral lenses.
This new lens offers:
- A higher level of comfort than most Gas Permeable or hybrid lenses can deliver
- Excellent visual outcomes
- A straightforward fitting approach
- The option of quarterly replacement
NovaKone is designed specifically for the keratoconic eye, with advanced design features and flexible parameters that give you incredibly precise fitting control.
- A central base curve optimized for precise optical alignment over the steep central cornea
- Variable lens center thickness (IT Factor) to neutralize almost any irregular astigmatism
- A proprietary Dual Elliptical Stabilization™ and cylinder powers to -10.00D to precisely address residual astigmatism
- An independent para-central fitting curve to assure excellent lens movement and physical fit
- NovaKone soft lenses for keratoconus are indicated for visual correction for patients with all stages of keratoconus and pellucid marginal degeneration.
- NovaKone can be particularly successful to address cases where GP, hybrid, and scleral lenses have failed or are otherwise contraindicated.
- NovaKone offers extraordinary comfort and can be an excellent adjunct to other forms of correction.
PRK FOR ‘EARLY’ KERATOCONUS
Though some eye care professionals recommend against Excimer laser PRK in patients with keratoconus because it thins the cornea even further, we are actively researching this area. Our experience has shown that in patients who are over age 40 whose vision is stable and whose corneas are thick enough they get similar results with the Excimer PRK as they would get with glasses. Patients who elect to undergo this treatment will be done under an experimental protocol and need to understand that they are at increased risk of scarring with the potential for needing a corneal transplant.