FAQ Keratoconus/Corneal collagen cross-linkage
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted vision.
Q 2. Intacs are referred to as prescription inserts. Does this mean that they will eliminate my need for contacts or glasses?
A: Good question. To start, we should clarify that Intacs are not like contact lenses. They are curved, clear plastic half-moon-shaped segments that are inserted under the surface of the cornea to reduce the steepness of the cornea by reshaping it.
They are referred to as “prescription inserts” because they are available by prescription only, meaning that they must be ordered and inserted by a trained surgeon. The Intacs themselves have no prescription and are not intended to provide vision correction.
In cases where patients have a very slight prescription, the need for glasses and/or contacts can be eliminated; however, we tell patients not to expect this as a result. What you can expect is a much easier time being fitted for glasses and contacts, and also possibly a wider variety of contact lens types to choose from. Dr Zafar Iqbal Sheikh
Q 3. Will I go blind from keratoconus?
A: Keratoconus does not typically lead to complete blindness. But the disease can degrade vision to a level where one will experience difficulty leading a normal life.
Corneal hydrops (extensive scarring), as well as contact lens intolerance, can occur as the disease progresses. This can lead to legal blindness and will eventually lead to the need for a cornea transplant. Dr Zafar Iqbal Sheikh
Normal eye vs. eye with keratoconus. The Keratoconic cornea bulges slightly, for a more cone-shaped surface. (Artist’s re-creation of keratometry images.)
Q 4. I’ve heard about corneal collagen crosslinking treatment. Will this improve my vision?
A: The primary goal of corneal cross-linking (CXL) is to strengthen and stabilize the cornea to prevent progression of keratoconus. In some cases, CXL may also improve the corneal shape and reduce corneal astigmatism, and thereby improve uncorrected and best-corrected visual acuity. But there’s no guarantee this additional benefit will occur.
If you’ve been told by your eye care provider that you have keratoconus, schedule a consultation with an eye doctor who performs corneal cross-linking to discuss the likely outcome of CXL in your particular case. Dr Zafar Iqbal Sheikh