Solutions for Your Eye's Unique Needs
Keratoconus is a disorder of the cornea. The cornea is a thin, clear piece of tissue on the surface of the eye. It must be transparent and compact in order to see through it. Additionally, its shape is very important to our vision. If it is misshapen, the image we see becomes a blur.
Keratoconus is a progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea. Instead of being shaped like a hemisphere, it takes the shape of a cone. It usually manifests in the late teens to early twenties and progressively worsens into middle age, when it typically stabilizes. This disorder is usually present in both eyes, but it is often asymmetric. The severity of keratoconus varies from person to person, and our Smithtown, Holbrook, or Deer Park, Long Island eye care specialists can better evaluate a patient's condition during a comprehensive consultation at our of our five office locations. Some individuals with keratoconus simply need glasses to see their best. Others require a hard contact lens to optimize their vision. A hard contact lens molds the cornea into a more spherical shape, greatly enhancing the vision.
For those individuals who progress to a point where they become contact lens intolerant or develop corneal scarring, surgery is required. Those patients require a corneal transplant. In this case, a donor cornea is obtained from someone who has unfortunately died, but has donated his or her eyes. The patient’s cornea is removed and replaced with the donor cornea. Even after cornea transplants, very often a hard contact lens is required for the patient’s best vision. Nonetheless, visual prognosis is typically excellent after a corneal transplant.
New treatments for keratoconus are on the horizon, as our Smithtown, Long Island professionals are at the forefront of innovative advances in corneal surgery. A new therapy known as collagen cross-linking is being actively studied. This is a procedure done on the cornea of patients diagnosed with keratoconus and other types of corneal ectasias. While it cannot reverse the damage of keratoconus, it can halt its progression. By undergoing this treatment early in your diagnosis, you can eliminate the future need for a corneal transplant. This therapy is not currently FDA approved in the United States; however, it is being studied extensively and will likely become available in the near future.