So you’ve either been recently diagnosed with Keratoconus or you (or a loved one) have lived with it for some time now, experiencing all of the discomfort, inconvenience and limitations on your life that this eye disease brings with it. No matter what your experience with it so far, first on your mind must be the one central question: “Is there a cure for Keratoconus?”
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus (pronounced KEHR-uh-toh-KOH-nus) is a disease of the cornea, the clear layer that forms the surface of the eye. The cornea is normally consistent and round, but Keratoconus causes it to become thin and bulge out into a cone shape. Because some people have a tough time pronouncing “Keratoconus”, it is sometimes simply called “KC” or “cone-shaped cornea.”
But this cone shape is not necessarily consistent. The bulges can be off in one direction or another, and there can be more than one.
Since light passes through the cornea before it gets to your eye’s lens, Keratoconus causes the light to be distorted in very unusual and inconsistent ways, making it very hard to see clearly. So given the complexity of this disease, is there a cure for Keratoconus?
Common Keratoconus Treatments
Optometrists who are not very experienced with treating Keratoconus will often try to correct your Keratoconus with regular gas permeable or soft contact lenses. But because those lenses are made to sit on symmetrical corneas, they don’t fit well on a cornea with bulges. (Imagine turning a teacup upside down and balancing a saucer on top, and you’ll get the idea.)
And these ill-fitting contact lenses, as many Keratoconus patients typically discover, leads to a variety of Keratoconus symptoms, such as dry eyes, itchy eyes, bloodshot eyes, eye fatigue, headaches, inability to wear your contacts for longer than a few hours, halos, double vision, inability to see clearly at night, and a host of other problems.
Making the disease even worse is that Keratoconus is a Progressive disease, which means that it generally gets worse over time. All of this causes people to ask the central question…
So Is There A Cure for Keratoconus?
The answer to this question really depends on what you mean by “cure”.
If what you mean by “cure” you mean “Can keratoconus be reversed,” the short answer is No. While we have many ideas about the causes of Keratoconus, there is no single cause we can point to that exists in all patients. There is sometimes a genetic component to the disease, as well as a habitual one — people who rub their eyes frequently tend to have a higher incidence of Keratoconus than those who do not.
But whatever the cause of your own Keratoconus, there is no way to naturally or medically reverse your Keratoconus with diet, exercise, drugs or other therapies.
Stopping the Progression of Keratoconus
On the other hand, if what you are after is to stop the progression of Keratoconus, then the answer to your question about a cure is a measured “yes.”
Corneal Crosslinking is a procedure that uses special drops and light therapy to help strengthen and repair damage to your cornea(s). It is a quick, minimally-invasive outpatient procedure that is virtually painless, very effective, and done in a doctor’s office. You go home the same day.
Crosslinking is almost 100% effective at preventing your KC from getting worse. It also may help
improve your vision somewhat by flattening out the central part of your corneas. But it does not reverse the disease.
Corneal Transplant Surgery
Can your Keratoconus be “cured” with new corneas? If your corneas are in very bad shape, they may need to be replaced. This is called a corneal transplant. The good news is that only 15-20% of people with KC need a corneal transplant (also called a graft). But after either Corneal Crosslinking or a Corneal Transplant, the shape of your corneas should be somewhat stable, and you can be fitted with custom contact lenses to fix your vision problems. But these surgeries are not true cures for Keratoconus.
If what you really mean by “is there a cure for Keratoconus” is whether you can live a normal life after being diagnosed with the disease, the answer is very often Yes.
The typical symptoms of Keratoconus — dry eyes, itchy eyes, bloodshot eyes, eye fatigue, headaches, inability to wear your contacts for longer than a few hours, halos, double vision, inability to see clearly at night — can be a thing of the past for most patients as a result of the latest state-of-the-art keratoconus treatments.
Dr. Barry Leonard, the leading Keratoconus Doctor in Los Angeles, is a pioneer in the use of a technology called the Eaglet Eye Surface Profiler. This device allows Dr. Leonard to map out over 300,000 points on your eye — all the highs and lows of your bulging cornea — covering 100% of the cornea and most of the white part of your eye (called the “Sclera”). With this information, Dr. Leonard designs special Scleral Contact Lenses that not only correct your vision, but are so soft and comfortable that you can wear them all day with complete comfort.
They are comfortable because the lenses cover so much of your eye, including much of your Sclera, and essentially “vault” over your cornea, resulting in a smooth surface for the light to enter, and complete comfort for you.
How To Treat Your Keratoconus
If you have Keratoconus and are tired of living a life limited by your disease, call Dr. Leonard at 818-891-6711 for an appointment or make an appointment online. Dr. Leonard is at the forefront of Keratoconus Treatments because, among his other great qualities, he happens to also be a Keratoconus patient. He was diagnosed with Keratoconus in the 80’s and currently treats himself with exactly the treatment described here. Make your appointment with Dr. Leonard now, and start experiencing your own personal “cure for keratoconus”.