What It Is and How to Treat It
Keratoconus is a disorder of the cornea that can cause serious impairment to vision for affected patients. During the early stages of this condition, prescription eye drops may provide some relief for discomfort and swelling. Keratoconus is a progressive disease, however, and will usually continue to worsen over time if not treated. The LASIK surgery team at Mattioli Vision Professionals in Houston, can provide practical options for patients with keratoconus that can slow or arrest the progress of this disorder and provide clearer vision immediately and for years into the future.
What Is Keratoconus?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines keratoconus as a condition in which the cornea changes shape and thickness to bulge outward, creating a cone-like protrusion at the front of the eye. This can cause distortions in visual perception by altering the way in which light refracts inside the eye. No single cause for keratoconus has been determined; however, risk factors include genetic predispositions, previous injuries to the cornea and certain diseases.
Symptoms of Keratoconus
One of the first symptoms of keratoconus is usually a heightened sensitivity to light and glare. Patients may also experience distortions in their field of vision and blurriness due to the deformation of the cornea. Eye irritation may also occur during the early stages of keratoconus. As the disease progresses, patients may become progressively more nearsighted and may experience increased astigmatism. Left untreated, keratoconus can cause significant scarring of the cornea that can reduce visual acuity and cause permanent damage to the eye.
Corneal Cross-Linking Therapies
One treatment that shows exceptional promise for patients suffering from keratoconus is corneal cross-linking therapy. These treatments are designed to strengthen the cornea and involve a few simple steps:
- First, a layer of liquid riboflavin, more commonly referred to as Vitamin B2, is applied to the surface of the cornea. In some cases, the area to be treated may be prepared surgically to enhance its ability to absorb the riboflavin application.
- Ultraviolet laser light is then applied to the surface of the cornea, reducing any swelling and improving the overall texture of the corneal surface.
- The entire procedure is designed specifically to increase anchor points for collagen fibers, allowing these materials to bond with corneal tissue to speed the healing process.
The laser eye surgery experts at Mattioli Vision Professionals can perform corneal cross-linking procedures to reduce the negative impact of keratoconus and to improve the vision of those suffering from this serious condition.
At Mattioli Vision Professionals, we specialize in providing you with the most practical and beneficial options in eye care. Our full lineup of services includes LASIK surgery, facial rejuvenation, intraocular lens implants and cataract removal procedures that are designed to help you see more clearly while looking and feeling your best. To learn more about our exclusive keratoconus treatments and how they can improve your vision, give us a call at 713-776-3937. The entire team at Mattioli Vision Professionals is ready to serve you.