Your Keratoconus should be treated by a specially trained and experienced Optometrist. Keratoconus is a rare condition where the eye’s cornea becomes cone-shaped and asymmetrical over time. The cornea is the hardened clear covering over the lens in the center of the eye, and normally it is visible as a slightly rounded bulge over the iris and pupil.
You may be familiar with the idea that in eyes that are near-sighted, far-sighted, or have astigmatism, a misshapen cornea causes or contributes to the problem. In those cases, the cornea is still rounded — it is just slightly “too round,” or “not round enough,” or “a little wider this way than that way.” But it’s still smooth and generally round.
In Keratoconus, the cornea actually bulges in one spot or several, generally becoming cone-shaped. This creates a different kind of effect on your vision. When it first starts, it may seem like simple nearsightedness that can be corrected with normal lenses. However, as the condition advances, your vision becomes more distorted and is different when you look in this direction versus that direction.
This distortion will exceed the abilities of normal corrective lenses. In addition, you can start to get ghosting or glaring, halos, sensitivity to light and other vision problems. Regular corrective lenses cannot correct these advanced symptoms. (Want more info? Visit “What is Keratoconus?“)
What can someone with Keratoconus do? How do you treat Keratoconus? Where do you find a qualified Keratoconus Doctor? Here are a few common solutions:
At the California Keratoconus Center, we prefer treating Keratoconus with contact lenses because that allows our patients to avoid the cost and complications that come with surgical procedures. However, if we cannot solve your Keratoconus vision issues with properly designed and fitted lenses, only then will we recommend a surgical procedure.
Surgical solutions include laser surgery if the Keratoconus is not very advanced. In more advanced cases, surgical correction through reshaping is a possibility, though that procedure runs a risk of scarring. A better option in that case is either a donut-shaped corneal insert to help make the cornea’s shape more consistent, or a cornea transplant. Both of these are fairly high-risk surgeries.
If your Keratoconus is rapidly progressing, it must be halted in order for your treatment to last as long as possible, whatever that treatment is. In those cases, we often recommend a surgical procedure called “corneal cross-linking” (CCL) which is a treatment that “firms up” the cornea to reduce the ongoing deformation caused by Keratoconus.
Even though CCL is considered surgery, it is done with specially medicated eye drops and a special type of light that causes the drops and the collagen in your cornea to strengthen the cornea and halt or slow the progression of your Keratoconus.
There are several treatments for Keratoconus. The one that is right for you depends greatly on how severe your condition is. The most important part of your decision, though, may not be what Keratoconus treatment to choose, but which Keratoconus doctor you want to trust with the decisions about your eyes.
Dr. Barry Leonard has been treating Keratoconus since the 1980’s, soon after he discovered he had Keratoconus himself. Yes…he’s a patient, too. Not many eye doctors are properly trained to treat Keratoconus, but patients from both inside and outside of California have traveled hundreds of miles to the California Keratoconus Center just to be seen by Dr. Leonard. Make your own Keratoconus Appointment with Dr. Barry Leonard here. Or you can call the Center at 818-891-6711.