Preventing and Managing Keratoconus Progression

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that affects the shape and integrity of the cornea, causing visual distortion and deterioration. While there is currently no cure for keratoconus, early detection and proactive management can significantly slow down its progression and preserve vision. Unlike many other eye clinics, Vision Care Clinic offers the unique opportunity to not only prevent further keratoconus progression but to also restore vision caused by the dystrophy.

Early Keratoconus Detection and Diagnosis

Detecting keratoconus in its early stages plays a vital role in preventing its progression. Regular eye examinations, especially for individuals with a family history of keratoconus or those experiencing frequent changes in prescription, blurred or distorted vision, sensitivity to light, or are regular eye rubbers. Early diagnosis allows for timely intervention and the opportunity to offer appropriate clinical management strategies.

Corneal Cross-Linking

Corneal cross-linking (CXL) is a widely recognised treatment for halting keratoconus progression. This procedure involves applying riboflavin eye drops to the cornea and using UV light to activate them and strengthen the corneal collagen fibres. Corneal Cross-Linking can help stop further thinning and bulging of the cornea, while slowing down the progression of keratoconus. This treatment is most effective when done in the early stages of the condition.

CAIRS

Corneal allogenic intrastromal ring segments or CAIRS is the latest treatment for keratoconus and is performed using donor corneal tissue, which is processed and prepared into either rings or arcs.

The treatment involves inserting either the selected ring or arc of corneal tissue into the recipient cornea, to add volume to thinned corneas and regularise the surface. This treatment option can delay and prevent the need for corneal graft surgery, improve vision and potentially, leads the way to laser eye surgery for further vision enhancement.

Our CAIRS procedure at Vision Care Clinic, uses donor tissue which provides increased biocompatibility, compared to artificial, plastic implants; resulting in comfortable eyes, less chance of rejection and no reported cases of increased halos or glare around lights at night. The procedure is performed in a clean treatment room, using topical anaesthetic eye drops and is reversible.

Avoiding Eye Rubbing

Rubbing the eyes can exacerbate keratoconus progression. The pressure exerted while rubbing can further weaken the corneal structure and increase the risk of corneal thinning. Encouraging good eye hygiene and educating patients about the risks of eye rubbing are essential in preventing keratoconus progression. Using artificial tears to relieve any itchiness or discomfort can help reduce the urge to rub the eyes.

UV Eye Protection

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight can contribute to the progression of keratoconus. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection and wide-brimmed hats when outdoors can help shield the eyes from harmful UV rays.

Regular Eye Examinations

Regular eye examinations are crucial for individuals with keratoconus, ideally with specialist diagnostic devices for advanced measurements. These examinations allow eye care professionals to monitor the progression of the condition and make appropriate adjustments to treatment plans. Regular evaluations also ensure that any changes in vision or corneal shape are promptly addressed, helping to prevent the progression of keratoconus and maintain optimal vision.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with keratoconus or have been struggling with this challenging disease, contact Bristol’s leading private eye clinic on 0117 905 7722 to book your comprehensive keratoconus consultation.

Published 26th April 2024
by Helen Wood
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While there is currently no cure for keratoconus, early detection and proactive management can significantly slow down its progression and preserve vision.

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