The cornea is the transparent layer that covers the front portion of the eye. In addition to protecting the eye from dirt and bacteria, the cornea also plays an essential role in focal vision. A smooth, round cornea is able to refract light properly while an irregularly steep, bulging cornea cannot, resulting in blurry or distorted vision and a condition known as keratoconus.
Thanks to the latest advances in ophthalmology, Texas Eye and Laser Center is able to offer an innovative procedure to patients with mild cases of keratoconus. Corneal collagen cross-linking strengthens the cornea and stops the keratoconus from progressing. In some cases, it can also help the patient avoid the need for corneal transplantation, a more invasive treatment option.
A normal cornea is round and dome-like while a cornea with keratoconus becomes thin and cone-like, bulging outward. This irregular shape affects the cornea’s ability to refract or focus light onto the retina, causing distorted or blurred vision. Individuals with keratoconus may also experience glare, light sensitivity, difficulty wearing contact lenses, frequent prescription changes, difficulty driving at night and headaches. Without proper intervention, keratoconus can lead to permanent vision loss.
About Corneal Crosslinking
Corneal collagen crosslinking is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in our office. During the treatment, riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops are placed in the eye and activated via an ultraviolet (UV) light. The process increases the number of “crosslinks,” or natural-occurring anchors, between the collagen fibers in the cornea. This, in turn, strengthens the cornea and allows it to hold its shape.
Studies have shown that corneal crosslinking can often stop the progress of keratoconus and can eliminate the need for corneal transplant surgery.
Alternative Options for Keratoconus
Although corneal crosslinking has been proven to be an effective treatment option for early-stage keratoconus, it is not appropriate for everyone. An alternative option for the long-term treatment of keratoconus is Intacs, which are small implants placed in the cornea to reshape it. These biocompatible inserts flatten the steep, bulging cornea and, as a result, help the eye properly focus light and improve vision. In some cases, Intacs may be combined with corneal crosslinking to achieve optimal results.
For severe cases of keratoconus, corneal transplantation may be necessary. During the procedure, donor cornea tissue is surgically attached to the eye to provide the necessary support to stop the cornea from bulging. Corneal transplant surgery is extremely safe and some studies have reported a 97 to 99 percent success rate.
Schedule a Consultation with Texas Eye and Laser Center
If you have been diagnosed with early-stage keratoconus, you may be a suitable candidate for corneal crosslinking. To find out if this innovative treatment is right for you, schedule a consultation with Texas Eye and Laser Center. Our board certified eye doctors will thoroughly examine your eyes to determine the severity of your condition and review your treatment options with you.
To schedule an appointment, please call Texas Eye and Laser Center at (817) 540-6060.