Blurry vision, eyeglass prescriptions that constantly change, and impaired night vision are signs that you may have keratoconus, a rare eye disease that leads to degeneration of your corneas.
Often keratoconus presents as nearsightedness that can be corrected with glasses. But, over time, as the condition worsens, glasses eventually fail to correct your vision, and other treatments may be necessary to improve your sight.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options, and the expert ophthalmologists at Smart Eye Care are among the most skilled in this area to treat the condition. The best treatment for you will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a rare eye disease caused by a dysfunctional cornea. With keratoconus, the cornea, which is the thin, clear part that covers the front of your eye, thins out and bulges, often into a cone. When light enters your eye, a healthy cornea directs it toward the retina, where the light gets transmitted to your brain and turned into images.
A misshapen cornea diverts the light away from the retina and leads to blurry and distorted vision. While the cause of keratoconus remains mysterious, it’s thought that there is a genetic component and also that allergies and excessive eye rubbing increase your risk of developing it.
In the early stages of keratoconus, glasses or contacts can help correct and improve your vision. As the condition progresses, specialized hard contacts may be needed to focus your vision. The most advanced treatment option for advanced keratoconus is corneal cross-linking with riboflavin.
What is corneal cross-linking with riboflavin?
Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive in-office treatment for keratoconus as well as other corneal eye diseases and issues. This procedure helps strengthen and stabilize your cornea to reduce the bulging.
There are two ways to perform this treatment. One is called epithelium-off CXL procedure, and the other is called epithelium-on CXL procedure. They’re similar procedures, and your doctor will recommend the best one for your condition.
In the epithelium-off CXL procedure, the outer layer of your cornea is removed, and riboflavin drops are applied to your eye. The outer layer is removed to help the riboflavin, which increases collagen production in your cornea to help strengthen it, penetrate your cornea more deeply.
After the drops are administered, ultraviolet light is shined on your eyes for 30 minutes to help the riboflavin further absorb into your cornea.
With the epithelium-on CXL procedure, the cornea is left intact. Riboflavin eyedrops are still administered, but they’re left on your eyes longer than in the first procedure in order for the drops to penetrate as deeply as they need to. The ultraviolet light is then administered.
Both procedures can help you avoid a corneal transplant, which is used only when the keratoconus is severe.
To learn more about keratoconus and corneal cross-linking with riboflavin, call Smart Eye Care for an appointment or make one online through this website.