If you are reading this blog it is likely that you either have this eye condition or know someone that is close to you with it… and you are concerned. We are talking about our most precious sense: Vision, so of course you are concerned.
There is a plethora of information on the Internet and even though a lot of it is accurate, it is often taken out of context. That’s where this blog fits in. A number of years ago I set up a website called: www.keratoconus.com.au
On which I have also written a document called “7 Vital Facts you need to know about Keratoconus… but Don’t”.
It has been around for a number of years and from there I have had many, many enquiries. Most of these have come from people that are distressed and do not know where to turn.
My name is Dr Jim Kokkinakis and over the past 20 years I have developed an expertise in this area from many sources. If you are interested go to my profile page for more information.
Keratoconus is a huge area and the information is overwhelming. The first thing we need to know is that Keratoconus will not make you go blind. Secondly that being guided by an expert will always give you the best outcome. If you download the above document, I go into this in detail.
The purpose of this blog is to update on what is the latest in this large and very confusing area, so we will start with 7 other facts. Today we will start at number 1 and over the course of another 6 posts we will develop further understanding. I highly encourage you to read the first document so that you have a good grounding and therefore following 7 points will make more sense:
Other facts # 1: Collagen Crosslinking is a viable treatment
In my previous document I mentioned that the main years for Keratoconus to progress is between 15 and 25 years of age. It can also sometimes start earlier and there are documented cases of progression even up to 45 years of age.
When I wrote my original 7 facts there was a procedure called collagen crosslinking (CCL) that was in a trial phase in Australia. The studies now have been finished and it is clear that if a Keratoconus specialist is monitoring a patient with Keratoconus and they are definitely getting worse, then this procedure is something that should seriously be considered. Commonly asked questions about this procedure are:
||Why is the procedure done?
||To try and slow down and even stop and further progression of Keratoconus. The less progressed the Keratoconus is the easier it is to fit the eye with contact lenses and ultimately to reduce the need to have a corneal transplant.
||What is this procedure?
||Riboflavin is applied to the cornea and ultraviolet light is shined on the cornea with the applied Riboflavin for around 20 minutes.
The treated eye is then given anti biotic drops and anti- inflammatory drops, whilst wearing a bandage disposable contact lens for around four days.
After the four days the contact lens is removed and the drops are continued for a week. Only one eye at a time should be done if possible. This is normally possible because one eye is nearly always worse than the other.
||Is the procedure safe?
||Complications can occur but they are rare. They include haze or fogginess that does not clear and infection. If the cornea is less than 350 microns thick before the procedure is done there can be serious consequences to the cornea, which will then require corneal transplantation. Therefore CCL is normally not offered if the cornea is already too thin.