Keratoconus is an eye condition that causes the clear dome at the front of your eye (cornea) to thin and bulge outward, turning the round eye shape into a cone. These corneal changes cause worsening vision for many years, distorting your eyesight with blurriness, light sensitivity and other alterations. Our eye surgeons at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons offer keratoconus treatment, including an innovative new option that can halt disease progression called corneal cross-linking.
What Keratoconus Patients See (Or Don’t See)
People living with keratoconus suffer from vision changes and may see etchings of light scattered through their visual field overlayed on a blurry background. Some patients see “ghosting” of text where the letters are mirrored or doubled. Keratoconus patients, such as Emily Wainwright, struggle with the day-to-day realities of these vision changes.
“The most heartbreaking thing about having keratoconus is not being able to see my children’s faces property, having the thoughts in my head that I won’t ‘see’ them become adults,” writes Wainwright. “Picking the children up from school can sometimes be embarrassing as a few times I have waved a[t] children who I think are mine, but when they come closer, I realize they are not my kids… Having keratoconus is not just having an eye condition I suffer with, it effects [sic] everything.”
How is Keratoconus Treated?
Keratoconus can’t be reversed or cured, but treatments can slow or stop its progression. While glasses or soft contact lenses can manage the early stages of keratoconus, the condition requires advancing treatments. Rigid, gas permeable contact lenses and scleral lenses can be beneficial, but some patients, including Wainwright, find these too uncomfortable to wear long-term. Advanced cases may require Intacs (intra-corneal rings surgically placed in the cornea) or cornea transplants. However, corneal collagen cross-linking is a newer treatment that has lowered the need for cornea transplants and works to halt keratoconus progression to preserve your vision.
Our eye surgeons offer corneal cross-linking, the most recommended treatment for keratoconus. Corneal collagen cross-linking works to strengthen and build a bond in the collagen fibers inside the eye, and these fibers link together to slow the bulging and stabilize corneal changes. The procedure uses medicated riboflavin eye drops activated with a custom UV light. Our ophthalmologists will either loosen the cornea’s surface layer (epithelium) for better absorption or remove it. Corneal collagen cross-linking can stabilize vision and prevent worsening keratoconus if the condition is in the active stage.
If you struggle with keratoconus, contact our eye doctors in Boston to see if corneal cross-linking is right for you. Schedule your eye exam and consultation at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons today by calling (617) 232-9600 or filling out our online form.