Keratoconus Treatment – What are the options?
Treatment can involve both surgical and non-surgical interventions. Don’t miss our dedicated Keratoconus Treatment page.
Non-Surgical Management includes glasses, contact lenses and allergy management.
When it comes to this eye disease, it is hugely beneficial to see an optometrist who is highly experienced in advanced contact lens fittings.
Hard contact lenses, are after all, the foundation of managing this eye disease. More on contact lens options for this disease can be found under our contact lenses category from the main menu above.
Designs include rigid gas permeable (RGP), hybrids (hard centre with a soft skirt) and scleral contact lenses (which vault over the entire cornea and rest on the white of the eye). Fitting these types of customised contact lenses is complex. It requires multiple contact lens trial sets and sophisticated technology like corneal topography to get good results.
The Eye Practice fits all types of contact lenses to manage this eye disease.
Surgical management includes corneal collagen cross linking, Intacs, and even laser eye surgery is being attempted.
Ultimately, a corneal transplant can be considered if all else fails. This can be in the form of deep lamellar or full thickness penetrating.
We like to keep our patients out of a corneal transplant for as long as possible – preferably for good.
With a comfortable pair of contact lenses, you should be able to live a normal life.
Corneal transplant / graft is something to be avoided if at all possible. Grafts don’t last forever and each subsequent graft only lasts half as long as the one before. The older you are having your first one – the better.
Latest clinical research
In early 2017, the results of the latest study on keratoconus were published in Cornea medical journal. This study comes out of the USA, where the data for over 20,000 patients with the disease was examined. The results were very revealing:
The incidence of corneal graft for keratoconus has decreased, particularly since 2009. This is believed to be due to substantial improvements in contact lens technology, allowing more patients with the disease to lead normal lives without having surgery. In 2005, over 6% of patients with keratoconus had a corneal graft, compared to less than 3% in 2010, just five years later.
Keratoconus cure – is there one?
There is no cure for this condition. It is not something that you can treat and be healed.
Ongoing research may one day deliver the Holy Grail, but to date a cure is still elusive. Although this eye condition can have a large impact on your life, it can be managed successfully, when an experienced optometrist is on the case.
It can be hereditary, so patients should always have their children and siblings checked for the condition. Maybe one day, genetic intervention will be able to change to the course or even cure this condition.
What if I failed in contact lenses in the past?
Failing in contact lenses is very common when a practitioner inexperienced in keratoconus is attempting the fitting of a complex cornea, such as in keratoconus. Even an experienced optometrist is not necessarily experienced in fitting keratoconus.
The average optometrist might see one or two cases per year. It is thus very difficult to develop a skill set for this condition.
Many people with this eye condition get to the stage where they find their glasses no longer give them satisfactory vision.
As a result of this, optometrists and ophthalmologists from around NSW and Australia-wide, refer patients with this eye condition to The Eye Practice for expert contact lens fitting.
We pride ourselves on restoring distorted vision, using the latest contact lens designs and materials.
Keratoconus Treatment at The Eye Practice
This is not a common condition and as such many optometrists may only ever see one or two keratoconus patients per year. When treating any condition, the doctor needs to see many patients in order to gain the experience required to provide the best possible treatments available.
At The Eye Practice there is not a day that goes by where we do not see a new case of this condition. There are many options that we have at our disposal that other optometrists have not even heard of. This is because we live and breathe this eye disease.
Dr Jim Kokkinakis of The Eye Practice is a Fellow of the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists (ISCLS) and can help you with your contact lens fitting no matter how complicated your prescription may be.
Jim is also a Senior Lecturer at the Optometry School at the University of NSW and teaches keratoconus management and fitting for the Advanced Contact Lens Studies course.
He also regularly lectures to both optometrists and ophthalmologists in Australia and around the world.