Keratoconus is a progressive condition that occurs with thinning and distortion of the cornea. Doctors do not yet know what causes keratoconus, although in some cases it appears to be genetic. About 1 out of 10 people with keratoconus have a parent who has it, too. Keratoconus often starts when people are in their late teens to early 20s. The vision symptoms slowly get worse over a period of about 10 to 20 years. This condition appears to equally affect both males and females and is present within all ethnicities. Keratoconus can be diagnosed through a routine eye exam. This condition generally involves both eyes, although one eye may be more affected than the other.
Keratoconus causes blurry or distorted vision as the result of a cone-shaped cornea. Symptoms can also include an increased sensitivity to light and glare, eye redness or swelling. In later stages, keratoconus symptoms can include nearsightedness or astigmatism, and an inability to wear contact lenses due to the shape of the cornea.
Keratoconus treatment depends on your symptoms. When your symptoms are mild, your vision can be corrected with eyeglasses. For moderate symptoms, you may need to wear special hard contact lenses to help keep vision in proper focus.
Other ways that your ophthalmologist might treat moderate to advanced keratoconus:
Intacs are FDA approved to treat keratoconus. In the past, a corneal transplant would be the only option for vision correction for those with keratoconus that has progressed enough deteriorate vision and make contact lenses and glasses an intolerable option. Now Intacs corneal implants may be the best possible option to stabilize the cornea, improve vision and potentially defer the need for a corneal transplant.
How are Intacs Corneal Implants Used?
Intacs corneal implants are micro-thin. An ophthalmologist inserts them under the outer edge of your cornea (the surface of your eye) during a brief outpatient procedure.
Intacs gently reshape the curvature of your cornea from within, enhancing the natural shape of your eye to correct mild nearsightedness. Unlike laser surgery, no corneal tissue is removed from the cornea.
Intacs cannot be felt and once inserted they are no more visible than contact lenses. No maintenance is required. Over 97% of patients who get Intacs corneal implants achieve the goal of driver’s license vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses, and greater than 50% are pleased to discover that their vision is better than 20/20.
Intacs can be replaced or removed if necessary, preserving future options like no other vision correction procedure.
Are Intacs Inserts Right for You?
Only a qualified physician at Raleigh Ophthalmology can determine if Intacs are a suitable treatment option for you. A thorough examination will be necessary. Also, it is required that you have healthy eyes that are free from disease or injury. You need to be at least 21 years of age and have had stable vision.
Your ophthalmologist uses a special UV light and eye drops to strengthen the cornea. Doing this helps to flatten or stiffen your cornea, keeping the condition from progressing further.
When symptoms are severe, your ophthalmologist may suggest a corneal transplant (DMEK). This is an out-patient surgical procedure that replaces all or part of your diseased cornea with healthy donor cornea tissue.