How to Manage and Treat Keratoconus - Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute

How to Manage and Treat Keratoconus


Have you recently been diagnosed with keratoconus? Keratoconus is an eye condition that changes the shape of the cornea, impacting one’s ability to see clearly. 

Keratoconus typically starts around puberty and progresses into young adulthood, causing increasing vision issues over time. In the early stages, keratoconus can be managed with glasses and other visual aids. 

However, additional treatment is eventually needed to address the condition. Treatment for keratoconus can slow its progression but cannot be cured or reversed. 

If it continues to progress, you may need a corneal transplant. Keep reading to find out how to manage and treat keratoconus.

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a condition that affects the shape of the cornea, the clear tissue at the front of the eye. Usually, the cornea is supposed to be dome-shaped. 

When keratoconus develops, it causes the cornea to become thinner, bulging outward. The altered shape resembles a cone.

When the cornea changes shape, it can affect vision. Some of the symptoms of keratoconus include: 

  • Excessive rubbing of the eyes
  • Blurry or distorted vision.
  • New or increased sensitivity to bright light and glare
  • Needing frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions
  • New or worsening clouding of vision
  • Contact lenses that don’t fit as well

The symptoms of keratoconus may be mild at first but then become more problematic over the years. You may notice that symptoms are worse in one eye, though keratoconus usually occurs in both eyes.  

Causes of Keratoconus

There isn’t a definitive cause for keratoconus, but experts believe genetics may play a role. About 10% of people who develop keratoconus also have a parent or close family member who was diagnosed with the condition. 

Underlying health conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa, Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan syndrome, hay fever, and asthma may place you at higher risk for developing keratoconus. 

Diagnosing Keratoconus

Your eye doctor can identify signs of keratoconus during a routine eye exam. Dilated eye exams allow your eye doctor to see the shape of the cornea and evaluate any changes in shape or thinning of the tissue. The exams are non-invasive and don’t cause discomfort. 

Early diagnosis provides an opportunity to treat the conditions and slow progression. Slowing the changes to the cornea can reduce vision problems in the future and delay the potential need for a corneal transplant later in life. 

After diagnosis, you must see your eye doctor regularly to monitor the condition and make any necessary changes to your treatment plan. 

Treatment for Keratoconus

After diagnosis, you can manage and treat keratoconus. Treatment is most effective the sooner you can begin. 

If you have keratoconus, your eye doctor will suggest the best treatment for your particular circumstances. 

Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a non-invasive treatment that can stabilize the cornea so it doesn’t change shape further. It can’t reverse changes that have already occurred, so it’s most beneficial to do so as soon as keratoconus is diagnosed. 

During the procedure, your eye doctor will place riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops on your cornea and expose the eyes to UV light. As the cornea absorbs the drops, the ultraviolet light triggers the production of new collagen, which strengthens the cornea. 

Corneal cross-linking can sometimes be combined with other treatments for optimal results. 

Specialty Contact Lenses 

Your eye doctor can prescribe contact lenses customized to fit your eye’s curvature. 

Intacs® Corneal Implants 

Intacs® corneal implants are thin, clear, semi-circular plastic rings implanted in the eye. These corneal implants correct the cornea’s abnormal curvature without removing any tissue from the eye. 

Topography-Guided PRK 

PRK is a laser vision correction procedure similar to LASIK. Topography-guided PRK starts with topographic measurements to map the shape of the cornea. 

Your eye doctor can then use the map to create a customized surgical correction for keratoconus and any refractive errors you have. 

Conductive Keratoplasty

Conductive keratoplasty is a procedure in which your eye doctor uses high-frequency radio waves to change the shape of the cornea’s surface. The waves can shrink the cornea, improving its shape. 

Corneal Transplant

If other treatments aren’t effective, you may need to have a corneal transplant. A corneal transplant is a procedure where the misshapen cornea is removed and replaced with donor tissue. 

Patients may need a full corneal transplant or a partial corneal transplant, depending on how much cornea needs to be removed. Corneal transplants are outpatient procedures, meaning you can go home after the procedure is complete. 

However, recovery takes some time after a corneal transplant. It’s not uncommon to have blurry vision for three to six months after corneal transplant surgery. 

The procedure is usually successful at improving visual issues caused by keratoconus. However, you’ll likely still need glasses or contacts after the procedure. In addition, you will need to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of your life. 

Do you have keratoconus? Find out if corneal cross-linking or other treatments could help your symptoms by requesting an appointment with the team at Herschel LASIK & Cataract Institute in Orlando, FL, today! Now is the perfect time to see if there are other options for treating keratoconus.

Those who know choose Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute

Beautiful office. Amazing and caring staff. Getting my surgery done Saturday and the Doctor and the staff helped choose the right option for me and I didn't feel pushed to commit. One of the only few who commits the patient to a dry eye treatment as per my research. Post-surgery I hope to keep my 5 star rating because I have nothing bad to say!

Yogi Nayyar (Google), February 2020

I recently did my LASIK procedure about 1 week ago and was completely blown away from beginning to end with the SERVICE received from the entire staff at Herschel LASIK. The office is beautifully decorated and the staff was always professional, personable, knowledgeable and friendly. I particularly enjoyed the way that everything was explained clearly before, during and after my procedure and questions were always encouraged and answered. My experience was the best encounter to date with a physician. Excellent doctor + excellent support staff +excellent service = excellent experience and a happy customer. Thank you so much Dr. Herschel, Doris and Francesca.

Vernicia Sturrup (Google), September 2019

Great service, sometimes a bit of a wait, but I take a full lobby as a sign of a well recommended doctor. Staff is friendly & quick to answerphones & squeeze me in when I got an eye problem. Would definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to get LASIK. Doctor even personally called to check on me the night after my procedure.

Stephanie G. (Yelp), January 2020

I got my LASIK procedure done here. I was apprehensive, mostly because anything to do with my eyes kind of freaked me out.
I went under a free consultation. The nurses/assistants were very nice and they answered any questions I had. Then I met Dr. Herschel and he was very nice and understanding. He explained all that would happen, how everything works, how long recovery will be, everything.
So, I agreed and start the process. I love the fact you always meet with Dr. Herschel at every appointment.
I now have 20/20 vision.
I'd highly recommend going to him for all of your vision needs.

Kelsea K. (Yelp), November 2019

Great surgeon and great staff. Do your research, Dr. Herschel is more than just a LASIK surgeon. He is certified and specializes in all areas of eye surgery so have peace of mind that you are getting one of the best. They use current technology and machines. More so, if your eyes aren’t ready for surgery he has no problem delaying 1-2 weeks until they are 100% good-to-go. He will not risk your health for the sake of money.

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