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.

How is Keratoconus Different Than Other Eye Conditions?

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?“)

Keratoconus Treatment Using Corrective Lenses

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:

  • Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses: These contact lenses provide a greater degree of correction and can address minor changes in shape caused by Keratoconus.
  • Hybrid Contact Lenses: Another option are hybrid lenses. These have a hard center area to address the unusual shape of the cornea but are surrounded by a soft contact lens “skirt” that reduces the discomfort and can provide longer-term wear.
  • Scleral Contact Lenses: There are also options for custom contact lenses or special lenses called “scleral contact lenses” that actually extend out to the sclera, or white, of the eye. In many cases, these scleral lenses are the preferred treatment because of their comfort and clarity and because they can help you avoid eye surgery. The Keratoconus specialists at the California Keratoconus Center are familiar with these PROSE-type scleral lenses, including Acculens Maxim, Alden Zenlens, Rose K2XL, EZ Fit, One Fit and many others.
  • Ultra Health Contacts: Another solution may be a new product known as Ultra Health and Ultra Health FC contacts. These are special contact lenses designed for patients with Keratoconus. They are worn like standard contact lenses, resolve vision and ghosting problems and avoid risky surgeries.
  • ClearKone Contacts: These special contact lenses also combine the best of both soft and contact lenses and are specially designed for people with Keratoconus or other corneal irregularities. One of our Keratoconus specialists can help you understand your options and whether these ClearKone contacts are the right answer.

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 Keratoconus Treatment

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.

Slowing Your Progressive Keratoconus

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.

Choosing Your Keratoconus Treatment?

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.

Digital Images for Keratoconus Treatment in SFV
Dr. Leonard uses digital imagery to get a complete picture of your eye health. Keratoconus is one of the things he can detect with the cutting-edge technology he has in his SFV optometry office.