Keratoconus & Pellucid Marginal Degeneration
Keratoconus causes thinning and distortion of the front of the eye (the cornea). This results in reduced vision. The condition is present from birth but does not affect vision until teenage years.
Keratoconus affects approximately 1 person in every 1000. The exact cause is uncertain, but a generic link seems likely, as the incidence rate is greater if a family member has been diagnosed. Often people with keratoconus suffer from seasonal allergies and asthma, and associated rubbing of the eyes can make the condition worse.
Diagnosis of keratoconus is confirmed after symptoms of distorted or reduced vision are linked with characteristic findings by examination of the cornea.
Because every person’s visual needs are different, The Keratoconus Care Clinic aims to tailor appropriate individual treatment to stabilise vision. Regular monitoring using state of the art equipment is required to ensure treatment is instigated at appropriate stages of the condition.
Often glasses help in the early stages, but may need changing frequently. As the condition progresses, even with the best glasses prescription, vision may be distorted and blurry as the lenses may vary significantly between the two eyes.
Soft contact lenses may not improve vision adequately. Rigid contact lenses are often a better option.
Riboflavin and Cross-Linking
This safe new treatment stabilises vision and delays initial progression of the condition by strengthening the cornea. Glasses or contact lenses still need to be worn after the procedure.
10-25% of keratoconus cases progress to a point where vision correction with glasses or contact lenses is no longer possible. Today transplants that are not full thickness are possible, which means little risk of rejection and quicker visual recovery following surgery.
This technique corrects vision distortion typically caused by the irregular shaped corneal surface. Glasses or contact lenses may be prescribed.
Non-Invasive Corneal Topography
This technique records the degree and extent of deformation by mapping the corneal surface and is a benchmark for assessing progression rate.
As keratoconus progresses the cornea thins. This procedure quantifies the thickness of corneal tissue and is another benchmark for monitoring progression rate.
How can The Keratoconus Care Clinic benefit me?
As well as assisting in making the diagnosis, the Clinic can monitor progression and in conjunction with your eye health professional via regular reports, assist you in making the best management decision for your condition.
What is Riboflavin and cross-linking?
This is an exciting new treatment for keratoconus that stiffens the cornea using Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and ultraviolet light (UVA 365nm) exposure. The three and five year results of the Dresden Clinical Study using human eyes, has shown arrest of progression of keratoconus in all treated eyes (Wollensak G. Crosslinking treatment of progressive keratoconus: New Hope. Current Opinion in Ophthalmology 2006; 17: 356-360)
Who can benefit from this treatment?
Patients who are undergoing a reduction in vision are suitable for cross-linking treatment. It aims to HALT PROGRESSION of the condition and may delay the need for corneal transplantation. Patients continue to wear spectacles or contact lenses following the procedure. However, in advanced keratoconus other treatment alternatives may need consideration
At the Keratoconus Care Clinic we can closely monitor changes to corneal shape and thickness which are indicators to identifying patients who are suitable for this treatment.