The cornea is the thin, clear cap on the front of the eye, often described as the “window of the eye”. Light must travel through the cornea in order to reach the retina where that light stimulates nerve impulses that travel to the brain where they are translated into sharp images. Keratoconus alters the normal shape of the cornea, causing distortion of the light sent to the retina, which can result in distorted images, blurring or double images, ghosting and, sometimes, light sensitivity. When the vision loss associated with keratoconus can no longer be managed with glasses or contacts, Dr. Bernitsky at Bernitsky Vision may have other treatment options available.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus literally means “cone-shaped cornea”. Keratoconus causes degenerative changes in the corneal architecture that can result in gradual thinning and weakening and distortion in the shape of the cornea. At its worst, keratoconus literally results in a cone-shaped cornea.
To learn more about keratoconus treatment in Albuquerque, NM call 505-323-0800 or contact us online.
Keratoconus is often a progressive disease whose cause is not certain at this time, but there is likely a genetic component. Keratoconus can begin in early adolescence and may continue to worsen into the mid-thirties. It is a disease with a wide range of clinical manifestations from virtually no recognized symptoms at the mild end to the need for corneal transplant at its most severe.
Generally, keratoconus is first diagnosed at the time of a routine eye exam and can initially be treated with glasses, rigid gas-permeable contact lenses or newer “hybrid” lenses. As the disease progresses, however, glasses and contacts often become impossible to fit, and other alternatives may be considered.
Treatment Options for Keratoconus in New Mexico
Treatment options for keratoconus depend on the degree of the cornea steepening, but blurry and distorted vision may be effectively corrected with:
Glasses and contacts are generally the first line of treatment for keratoconus. As the disease progresses, “hard lenses” (i.e. gas-permeable lenses) or hybrid lenses (hard in the middle, soft on the edges) may be required. One of the manifestations of keratoconus is often a high degree of astigmatism. As the cone-shape worsens, it may become difficult or impossible to improve vision with glasses or contacts. At that point, other options may be considered.
Intracorneal rings (Intacs) are semi-circular plastic rings that are inserted in the cornea to flatten the cornea. Intacs can result in a decrease in astigmatism and can make contact lens fitting easier. In some patients, the placement ofIntacs will result in stabilization of keratoconus. By doing so, they can often improve vision and delay the need for corneal transplant. However, Intacs do not cure keratoconus or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts.
Corneal transplant is the last resort when all other methods of vision improvement have been tried or when the effects of keratoconus have thinned and distorted the cornea to such an extent that the eye itself is at risk. With corneal transplant, the diseased cornea is removed and replaced with a healthy donor cornea. Corneal transplant does not result in perfect vision, but with a healthy cornea, other vision correction options may be possible including LASIK, PRK and ICL surgery.
Seek Keratoconus Treatment in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dr. Bernitsky completed advanced training in treatment and surgery of diseases of the cornea at Johns Hopkins and has more than 25 years of experience in vision correction using the full range of treatment options. To schedule a consultation, contact Bernitsky Vision.