What Keratoconus Is
Keratoconus is usually discovered during routine examinations at the opticians. It is a fairly uncommon condition that affects the cornea – the transparent window at the front of the eye. Due to its smoothly curved shape, the healthy cornea acts as a powerful lens bringing rays of light into focus on the retina at the back of the eye. However, in keratoconus the cornea becomes progressively steep and cone-shaped, causing myopia (short sight) and, if the steepening is uneven, also astigmatism (distortion of vision). It is not known what causes the disease but there is a strong genetic element, so it may sometimes run in a family.
The two treatment plans we offer at present are:
C3-R® – Keratoconus Treatment
Keratoconus can be treated with a relatively new procedure called Corneal Collagen Cross-linking with Riboflavin (C3-R®). This is a new treatment that increases the stiffness and rigidity of the cornea and stabilises ectasia. Patients who previously had progressive ectasia have now been treated and followed for up to five years without evidence of any further change in their condition. At present it is not known whether the stabilising effect of C3-R® on keratoconus is permanent, but the C3-R® treatment could potentially be repeated if it was necessary
Intacs for Keratoconus
An alternative treatment for Keratoconus is the use of Intacs, implanted into the cornea.
Intacs are a new surgical treatment for mild to moderate keratoconus. When inserted into the cornea, the Intacs segments make the central corneal profile flatter and more regular, and this reduces the optical defect.
Intacs for keratoconus are ‘C’ shaped segments of perspex (polymethyl-methacrylate or PMMA), that are inserted deep into the corneal stroma. They were originally designed for treatment of low myopia, and typically correct two or three dioptres of myopia or myopic astigmatism. Patients with keratoconus often have moderate or high degrees of myopia and astigmatism due to irregular steepening of the cornea caused by the condition.
For these patients, Intacs for keratoconus will reduce the optical defect in the eye and the remaining myopia and astigmatism can then be corrected either with glasses, or by insertion of an Implantable Contact Lens (ICL), or by Artisan lens surgery.