WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA’S LEADERS IN KERATOCONUS TREATMENT
Keratoconus is a condition that weakens the cornea, the eye’s outermost layer of tissue, causing blurry or distorted vision. A breakthrough treatment called corneal cross-linking (CXL) has been approved by the FDA to strengthen corneas affected by keratoconus. The team at Zambelli Cataract & Laser Eye Institute is proud to be at the forefront of this revolutionary procedure, and the first practice in Western PA to offer CXL with the newly FDA-approved Avedro KXL System!
Normally the cornea is round and dome-like, but a cornea with keratoconus becomes thin and cone-like, bulging outward. This deformity affects the eye’s ability to refract, or focus, light rays entering the eye; and as a result, vision is blurry or distorted. Due to the visual disturbance, individuals with keratoconus may find certain daily activities, such as driving, reading, watching television or working at the computer, more difficult. Other symptoms of the disease include sensitivity to light, eye irritation and glare.
Keratoconus may be caused by a variety of factors, including overexposure to the sun’s UV rays, long-term eye irritation and rubbing, and genetic factors. The condition usually affects individuals in their late teens and early 20s. Without the proper intervention, it progresses and vision deteriorates. Mild cases of keratoconus can be helped with glasses and contact lenses. However, as the condition progresses, alternate treatments are needed.
Corneal Cross-Linking for Keratoconus
The newest and most promising treatment for keratoconus is known as corneal cross-linking (CXL). The procedure is designed to strengthen the cornea and slow down or halt the progression of the disease. CXL is FDA-approved in the United States for the treatment of keratoconus as well as post-LASIK ectasia.
During a corneal cross-linking procedure, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) drops are placed in the eye and activated with an ultraviolet light. The reaction between the riboflavin and UV light increases the “crosslinks,” or natural anchors, between the collagen fibers in the cornea. With more crosslinks, the cornea is more stable and better able to hold its shape.
Studies have shown that when performed in the early stages of keratoconus, corneal cross-linking halts the progression of the disease and can prevent the need for more invasive treatment, including corneal transplant, later on.
Zambelli Cataract & Laser Eye Institute is a huge proponent of corneal cross-linking and the first practice in Western Pennsylvania to offer FDA-approved CXL with Avedro’s KXL System for keratoconus and post-LASIK ectasia. Our doctors have extensive experience with corneal cross-linking; in fact, we participated in the FDA’s investigational studies into the procedure that led to the approval of cross-linking in the United States.
Intacs Implants for Keratoconus
An alternative option for the treatment of keratoconus is Intacs, or small implants placed in the cornea to reshape it. These inserts are made from a safe, biocompatible material like that used to make intraocular lenses in cataract surgery.
By flattening the steep, bulging cornea, Intacs help the eye properly focus light and improve vision. The procedure to place the implants is short and usually performed on an outpatient basis. Intacs can be replaced if a person’s visual prescription changes over time, or removed altogether. Intacs, unlike corneal cross-linking, do not slow or halt the progression of keratoconus.
For more information about keratoconus, corneal cross-linking (CXL) or Intacs, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Rochester or Wexford, PA practices.