Keratoconus

WHAT IS KERATOCONUS?

Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea that causes progressive degeneration and usually occurs in both eyes at the same time. During this evolution, the cornea adopts an irregular conical shape due to the internal alteration of the corneal tissue that is manifested in the thinning of the corneal structure in its central or paracentral zone. High irregular astigmatism may also occur.

At present, the specific cause of corneal changes has not been specified, although in many cases there are antecedents in the patient’s family.

The first symptoms of keratoconus usually appear during puberty or early adolescence, progressing up to 30 or 40 years, when evolution usually stops, although the disease may become stationary at any time.

Sometimes, the pathology appears in more advanced ages and, in this case, does not degenerate as much as the astigmatism that is usually associated with keratoconus is lower than in the case of the early ages.

Symptoms

In the early stages of the disease, vision may be slightly affected by some refractive defect that causes glare, sensitivity to light and irritation.

Blurred vision, the presence of double vision or halos, pain, photophobia or loss of brightness and transparency of the cornea are, among others, some symptoms that require to suspect the existence of a corneal pathology. In this case, the patient should go to the ophthalmologist to evaluate their situation.

The patient with keratoconus usually has distorted vision of the images, which may affect one eye or both due to the asymmetric development of the disease. The more advanced the ectasia (thinning or degeneration of the cornea), the more likely it will affect the two eyes. Over time, the cornea will lose thickness and will gradually deform, causing increasingly high and irregular astigmatism, which can rarely be corrected with lenses.

The rate of worsening varies with each patient. It is possible from a rapid progression in the early adolescence until a slower development of the disease without symptoms occurring until advanced ages.

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Keratoconus Treatment-Surgery

Badly called intracorneal rings, the intracorneal segments are semi-circular pieces of a synthetic material called PMMA which, introduced into the interior of the diseased cornea, regularize and flatten it. As a result, it reduces astigmatism, myopia, improves vision and, more importantly, helps slow or stop the course of the disease. There are different types and commercial names of segments. The best known are the Intacs, the Intacs SK, the Segments of Ferrara and the Keraring Rings. The latter two are virtually identical but with different trade names. There are other types of segments but there is much less experience with them.

Segment surgery is extremely simple in the hands of keratoconus ophthalmologists. It is performed with a few drops of anesthesia and in an average time of 10 to 15 minutes on an outpatient basis. It is possible to operate every patient with keratoconus that does not have opacities or central scars in the cornea. The results are better in the beginning of the disease, that is, the earlier the better the operation. The segments can be implanted manually or by a femtosecond laser. The results are identical, although manual implantation, which is faster, less painful and safer, requires the hands of a surgeon with years of experience. That is why in most of the centers the use of a laser is recommended.

The ophthalmologist Dr. Julián Cezón is a pioneer in Spain in the implantation of intracorneal segments with more than 14 years of experience.

You may never need to have a keratoconus operation. By checking your eyesight regularly, you and your eye doctor can decide when you will really need the surgical treatment.

If you require a keratoconus operation in both eyes, keratoconus surgery will be performed on each eye individually, and usually with one to six months difference between one surgery and another.

For whatever you need, do not hesitate to contact us