Surgical keratoconus management
There are five types of surgical keratoconus management. These range from minimally to highly invasive.
Minimally invasive options are common and effective, but more invasive surgical treatment is usually avoided. In fact it is only an option if someones vision has become very bad, or contact lenses have become too uncomfortable.
Corneal collagen cross linking
This is a minimally invasive procedure designed to strengthen the cornea. It works best during the early phase of keratoconus and can slow or even stop the misshaping of the cornea.
The procedure works by using specially formulated vitamin B2 eyedrops which – under ultraviolet light – create new, strengthening bonds between collagen fibres in the cornea.
Combined corneal cross linking + laser eye surgery
The aim of this combined procedure is two-fold: Firstly to stabilise the condition and stop keratoconus getting worse; and secondly to reshape the surface of the cornea to improve vision.
Intraocular contact lenses (ICL)
These small, soft contact lenses are surgically inserted inside the eye through a small incision. While intraocular contact lenses can be of benefit to patients who are having difficulty wearing normal contact lenses, the procedure is considered invasive so not used often.
Intacs (intra corneal ring segments)
Intacs are clear implants with an arc-shape. They are surgically positioned into the cornea to reshape the surface of the eye so that vision is improved. However, this minimally invasive surgical procedure hasn’t given reliable results.
A corneal transplant is a highly invasive surgical procedure. Indeed, it involves grafting a donated cornea onto a patients own cornea.
However, a corneal transplant does not restore perfect vision. In fact, most patients will still need glasses or contact lenses.
Fewer than 5% of people with keratoconus need to get a corneal transplant.