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Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that creates a thinning of the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. Normal outward pressure within the eye causes the cornea to progressively bulge into a cone-like shape. The change in the cornea's shape can have a dramatic impact on one's vision. In more severe cases, normal everyday activities such as driving and reading can be difficult to perform. Although keratoconus rarely results in total blindness, 20% of all patients will at some time need to undergo a corneal transplant, according to medical experts.
No one knows the cause of keratoconus. There is evidence that the disease has genetic origins possibly made worse by environmental factors. It normally affects both eyes although it typically progresses at different rates. In most people keratoconus begins during their teen years and slowly worsens before stabilizing in their 30s or 40s. Keratoconus is estimated to affect one in 2,000 people across all races.
Keratoconus is normally treated with rigid contact lenses to reshape and flatten the pronounced curve of the bulging cornea and to improve vision. A proper lens fit is crucial to obtain adequate vision and wearing comfort. Poorly fitting or outdated contact lenses can be uncomfortable and lead to additional complications like corneal abrasions, scarring or infection.
In a minority of cases, corneal transplant surgery is required. Laser vision correction surgery such as PRK or LASIK is normally not an option for those with keratoconus due to an unacceptably high risk of poor outcomes. Usually keratoconic corneas are thin and weak. Removing tissue with a laser will thin and weaken an already weak cornea.
For keratoconus patients who are contact lens intolerant, McDonald Eye Associates is proud to offer revolutionary Intacs prescription inserts. Intacs provide a new option to improve both corrected and uncorrected vision, and may defer the need for a corneal transplant.
An Intacs procedure involves the placement of two small, clear implants in the cornea. The Intacs inserts remodel and reinforce your cornea, eliminating some or all of the irregularities caused by keratoconus in order to provide you with improved vision.
The goal of the Intacs procedure is to provide the keratoconic patient with the ability to achieve improved functional vision with contact lenses or glasses and in some cases without them. Though few Intacs recipients will ever require a corneal transplant, those who do are able to have the procedure without complications once the Intacs have been removed.
If you suffer from kerataconus, Intacs, may provide an effective vision improvement option and a way to avoid an invasive corneal transplant.
Intacs prescription inserts are approved by the FDA for keratoconus under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE).
For more information on Intacs® for keratoconus, please visit www.intacsforkeratoconus.com.