Keratoconus is a corneal disorder characterized by the thinning and weakening of the corneal tissue. This disease causes the cornea to adopt an unnatural oblong shape rather than a more natural, curved structure. Because the cornea is the portion of the eye that bends light and allows the rays to focus precisely on the retina, having a distorted cornea can lead to blurred or distorted vision. While some patients are born with keratoconus and experience symptoms developing when they reach their teens or 20s, this condition can also be caused by external factors, such as excessive rubbing of the eyes or trauma.
Our team of board-certified and board-eligible ophthalmologists at Vance Thompson Vision have received specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus. If you've noticed a change in your vision, such as blurriness, contact our Billings, MT office. We work with patients all year round to address and treat the side-effects of this eye disease.
"Our son had a difficult case of Keratoconus that had not been diagnosed for 35 years. When it was diagnosed we took him to Dr. Swan and he found that cross linking was a good option. They were very caring and professional throughout the process. They explained things well and answered all questions that were asked. Upon completion of the cross linking they referred him to get scleral lenses at Advanced Eye Care. He started out with about 20/200 vision and after cross linking and the scleral lenses he how has 20/25 vision. That is a miracle. Dr Swan is the real thing and we cannot say enough about the fantastic, professional and life changing service that they provide at Vance Thompson Vision."- O. / Google / Jul 24, 2018
The only way to know if you have keratoconus is to receive a thorough eye examination by one of our trained ophthalmologists or optometrists at Vance Thompson Vision. This condition causes your sight to gradually worsen as the cornea transforms, taking on an abnormal, bulging shape. However, vision deterioration often does not occur until keratoconus has progressed. Patients with advanced keratoconus may notice the negative impacts on their vision when they watch television, drive, read a book, or read words and subtitles on a screen or projector. To determine your best course for treatment, a member of our team will perform a comprehensive eye exam to gauge your ocular health and assess your unique condition. If you have a family history of keratoconus, or if you have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions (such as Down syndrome, asthma, retinal degeneration, or itchy eyes), then you may be at an increased risk to develop this corneal disorder.
Depending on the progression of your condition, there are a range of treatment options available for individuals in various stages of keratoconus progression. Those in the earlier phases may experience sight improvements with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, as keratoconus continues to advance and diminish your quality of vision, you may require more intense or invasive solutions, such as a corneal transplant from a donor or an implant to restore the natural shape of the cornea. During your one-on-one consultation, you will receive a thorough eye examination. Following this, our one of our ophthalmologists or optometrists will design a personalized treatment plan to address your condition. Some options that may be considered include:
- Corneal cross-linking: This minimally invasive treatment utilizes riboflavin and ultraviolet rays, which are applied to the affected eyes to encourage the fiber links within the cornea to strengthen. Corneal cross-linking is considered a preventive measure rather than a corrective treatment. Women and men in the earlier stages of keratoconus may benefit from this procedure to improve their vision and reduce their chances of needing a more aggressive surgery later on.
- Intacs®: Intacs are tiny, crescent-shaped implants that are inserted into the eye to correct the shape of the cornea without the need for surgery. Intacs implants are roughly the size of the tip of one's pinky finger and will help the cornea achieve a more natural, curved shape. When your cornea is flattened, your vision will improve because light will be able to focus on the retina with more accuracy.
- Corneal transplant: A corneal transplant is an invasive procedure that utilizes donor tissue to replace a damaged or deteriorated cornea. While this is an option for patients with keratoconus, corneal transplants are rarely considered. However, the few patients that do receive this keratoconus treatment option experience high success rates and great results.
What to Expect
As keratoconus progresses, your condition will be carefully tracked and monitored by one of our eye care professionals. This corneal disease, which only worsens over time, will steadily reduce the functionality of your cornea's and result in a range of vision problems because light will not be able to properly hit the retina. Based on the severity of your condition, you could benefit from corrective contact lenses or eyeglasses. A member of our Billings, MT ocular team will design a personalized treatment plan to address your unique situation.
Communicate Your Symptoms
Since the cornea is integral to maintaining precise and accurate vision, any abnormality that develops can have a negative effect on your overall ability to see. If you think you've noticed any signs or symptoms that could indicate keratoconus, please get in touch with our Billings, MT office and schedule a comprehensive eye exam with a member of our team today.