Cornea Treatment

Cornea and Keratoconus Treatment in Houston

Cornea and Keratoconus Treatment in HoustonKeratoconus is an eye condition that affects the cornea, the clear dome at the front of your eye responsible for focusing light. In a healthy eye, the cornea has a smooth, round shape. However, with keratoconus, the cornea gradually thins and bulges outward into a cone-like shape. This irregular shape disrupts how light enters your eye, leading to multiple vision problems.

One of the biggest problems is late detection of the disease. Frequent prescription changes, increased nearsightedness, increased astigmatism, and worsening of vision can all be related to keratoconus. Many times new prescriptions are given without knowing the problem is actually keratoconus. Our specialized diagnostic equipment can help detect this condition.

The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, but risk factors include rubbing the eyes, genetic predispositions, previous injuries to the cornea, and certain diseases. People with a family history of the condition or those who frequently rub their eyes due to conditions such as eczema are at a higher risk.

Keratoconus often develops in your teenage years or early twenties and progresses gradually.

Without treatment, the cornea can become significantly scarred and irregular, causing permanent damage to your eye. Once the shape of the cornea has been damaged, it cannot change back.

Typical Symptoms of Keratoconus

One of the first symptoms of keratoconus is a heightened sensitivity to light, or seeing halos around lights. Objects may also appear distorted, or your vision may seem blurry. Your eyes may also feel irritated all the time. As the disease progresses, you may become progressively more nearsighted and develop an increased astigmatism with frequent eyeglass prescription changes.

Generally, keratoconus progresses slowly over several years. However, sometimes it progresses more quickly, especially if you frequently rub your eyes, you have allergies that irritate your eyes, or you spend a lot of time outside in Houston. These scenarios can accelerate your keratoconus progression.

Corneal Cross-Linking – Treatment for Keratoconus

Contact lenses of any type, even scleral or hard contacts, will not stop the progression of keratoconus. During the early stages of this condition, prescription eye drops may provide some relief for discomfort and swelling. However, it will continue to worsen over time if not actively treated.

Corneal cross-linking (CXL) is an innovative procedure that strengthens and stabilizes your corneal tissue, helping to slow down the progression of keratoconus and preserving your vision.

CXL works by using ultraviolet light and riboflavin drops (vitamin B2). These drops are applied to your cornea. When exposed to specific UV light wavelengths, the riboflavin molecules activate and form cross-links between the collagen fibers in your cornea. These cross-links reinforce your cornea to stabilize it and halt the progression of the bulge.

CXL is a minimally invasive procedure with a relatively fast recovery time, and potentially reduces the need for future corneal transplants.

Intacs CAIR Corneal Rings – Treatment for Keratoconus

The Intacs CAIRS Intracorneal Ring Segment is an FDA-approved implantable device used to stabilize and reshape your cornea. These tiny, crescent-shaped plastic implants are placed directly into your cornea to treat irregular corneal conditions, including keratoconus.

This procedure doesn’t use any injections or scalpels, and only takes about 15 minutes to complete. After completely numbing your eyes with anesthetic drops, a laser is used to create a tunnel within the cornea to match the size and curvature of the ring segment. The ring segments are then slid into place, like a finger into a glove.

The overall goal of these rings is to provide stability for your eye, and may reduce some of your prescription, but glasses or contacts are usually still required. For patients with severe keratoconus, the majority notice better fitting contacts and improved vision after the procedure.

Benefits of a Corneal Ring Treatment

In addition to treating keratoconus and improving your overall vision, the benefits of this treatment include:

  • Improves the fit of your contacts
  • Reforms your cornea to a more natural shape
  • Reduces myopia and astigmatism
  • Quick, minimally invasive procedure
  • Short recovery time, usually within 24 to 48 hours
  • Can defer the need for a corneal transplant
  • Can be safely removed and replaced if your vision changes over time

Safe and Effective Corneal Treatments by Dr. Mattioli

We’re dedicated to helping you achieve optimal vision and eye health! Schedule a consultation now with Dr. Mattioli’s experienced team. We will discuss your vision goals and create a personalized plan for you.