As a premier eye care practice, Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut treats a wide range of eye conditions and diseases, including a corneal condition known as keratoconus. Thanks to the OCC eye surgeons, individuals with keratoconus in Fairfield, Stamford, Meriden and the surrounding areas can avoid some of the effects of the disease and enjoy enhanced visual acuity.
Keratoconus affects the cornea, the eye’s outermost layer, which plays a key role in focusing light that enters the eye. A healthy cornea is normally round, but a cornea affected by keratoconus thins and bulges outward into a cone-like shape. This abnormality deflects light entering the eye, leading to visual symptoms.
Keratoconus usually develops in a person’s teens or early 20s. It may affect one or both eyes simultaneously.
What are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?
The irregularity of the cornea’s shape causes nearsightedness and astigmatism, leading to blurry, double or distorted vision. Keratoconus can also cause sensitivity to light and glare. Someone with keratoconus may experience frequent changes in their eyeglass prescription.
Keratoconus is diagnosed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist with the help of an instrument called a slit-lamp, which looks at the structures at the front of the eye. The optometrist or ophthalmologist also measures the cornea’s curvature during the diagnosis.
At first, glasses or contact lenses can correct vision; more advanced cases may require specially fitted contact lenses to correct the distorted cornea. In the worst cases, keratoconus may require a corneal transplant.
How Corneal Cross-Linking Works
In April 2016, the FDA approved corneal cross-linking, a new minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of progressive keratoconus. Corneal cross-linking has been used in Europe and Canada for hundreds of thousands of patients with great success. The doctors of OCC helped lead the FDA trials and we have over ten years of experience with crosslinking and have performed thousands of cases.
Clinical trials show that corneal cross-linking often halts and reverses some of the bulging of the cornea in patients with keratoconus by strengthening the bonds of the corneal tissue. Corneal cross-linking is most effective in the earlier stages of keratoconus, before the cornea has morphed significantly in shape and caused serious vision loss.
During a corneal cross-linking procedure, the eye doctor places special photosensitive riboflavin (a type of B vitamin) drops in the eyes. Then, a UV light is directed at the eye to activate the drops. The reaction creates new “cross-links” or bonds within the cornea to strengthen it and help maintain its shape.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
The procedure takes between 60 and 90 minutes and the eye recovers from corneal cross-linking treatment within several weeks. Corneal cross-linking has the ability to reduce the need for more invasive keratoconus treatment and corneal transplants.
Learn More about Keratoconus and Corneal Cross-Linking
For more information about keratoconus and corneal cross-linking, please contact Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut and request an appointment with our eye doctors. You can reach our Fairfield, Stamford or Meriden locations by sending us an email.