There are two types of keratoconus treatment which are suitable to treat the eye condition in its early stages. These are cross-linking, and cross-linking combined with laser treatment which is called laser refractive cross-linking.
What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease which affects the shape of the cornea. As keratoconus progresses, the cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape causing blurred and/or distorted vision. Keratoconus treatment stops this thinning and bulging.
Keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes and often begins during a person’s teens or early 20s. It may be entirely asymptomatic initially with the earliest signs being increasing astigmatism.
Definitive diagnosis of keratoconus is made using scans of the cornea which often show the thinning and bulging typically seen in a keratoconic cornea.
Risk factors include a genetic predisposition, which is why keratoconus often affects more than one member of the same family. Keratoconus is also associated with eye rubbing and chronic eye irritation.
Keratoconus treatment options
In the early stages, keratoconus treatment options include the use of glasses and contact lenses to improve vision and a procedure called cross-linking.
Cross-linking stops the progression of keratoconus. Cross-linking can be combined with laser treatment (Laser refractive cross-linking) for improved outcomes in some patients.
In advanced cases, keratoconus can be treated with corneal ring segments and corneal transplants.
In selected patients with stable keratoconus, ICL implants may be used to improve vision and give them greater independence from glasses or contact lenses.
Difference between cross-linking & laser refractive cross-linking
The primary aim of both treatments is to stabilise keratoconus. However, there are some fundamental differences as explained below.
What are the benefits of keratoconus treatment?
There are a number of benefits of keratoconus treatment.
The benefits of cross-linking include:
- Stops the progression of keratoconus
- Prevents vision loss
- Avoids corneal transplant
- Enhances contact lens tolerance
- Delivers fast treatment
- Proves suitable for thin corneas
- May improve vision
The benefits of laser-refractive cross-linking are as above but with increased chance of improved vision and reduced reliance on glasses or contact lenses.
Screening for Keratoconus
Very often keratoconus is detected incidentally during screening tests for laser refractive surgery. Presence of keratoconus disqualifies patients from having laser refractive surgery.
During your consultation, you will have a full eye assessment and scans of your cornea. Mr. Ayoub will explain to you the findings of the assessment and the treatment options most suitable for you if you do have keratoconus.