The cornea is the transparent layer at the front of the eye. It helps to control how light enters the eye and makes up a significant portion of the eye’s overall focusing power. This starring role means corneal damage or even weakening can have a major impact on your vision.
There are several common eye issues that are related to the cornea. Some affect sight while others are just an inconvenience. Hiatt Eye Center has specialized surgeons in both of our locations to treat a range of cornea issues in the East Valley region and beyond.
Amniotic membrane is used to treat and heal damaged and infected corneas along with a variety of other corneal conditions, including dry eye. This treatment is simple and minimally invasive, resulting in less scarring and inflammation than other treatment options.
The amniotic membrane is gently placed on the eye, and a contact is placed over it. The amniotic membrane naturally dissolves into the eye in order to effectively heal the corneal surface.
Hiatt Eye Center offers treatment for individuals suffering from keratoconus, a progressive eye condition where the cornea thins and protrudes in an abnormal shape.
A normal cornea is dome shaped, but with keratoconus, the progressive thinning produces a ‘cone’ shape. Because the cornea is responsible for allowing light to enter the deeper structures of the eye to focus light, people with keratoconus often do not have clear vision because light will not bend properly as it enters the eye.
Keratoconus most often affects young people, with symptoms sometimes appearing as young as the early teenage years.
What are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is most commonly found in younger people and symptoms can start during the early teen years. Symptoms of keratoconus often progress rapidly for the next 10 to 20 years.
Keratoconus symptoms include:
- Frequent vision prescription changes
- Difficulty driving at night
- Halos, especially at night
- Eye strain
- Eye irritation
- Headaches and general eye pain
How is Keratoconus Treated?
Vision can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses early on but as the condition progresses, other treatment options may be recommended.
Traditional Keratoconus Treatments
Glasses and contact lenses have always been the first-choice treatments for Keratoconus. Until recently, when the disease progressed and these optical methods were no longer able to correct vision, surgical options were the only next step.
One of these surgical procedures is called Intacs ®. When inserted, they flatten the cornea, changing the shape and location of the cone. Advanced keratoconus often requires a corneal transplant which is invasive and comes with the risk of rejection and repeat surgeries.
Corneal Cross-Linking in the Treatment of Keratoconus
The latest treatment option for keratoconus is corneal cross-linking. This amazing technique strengthens the cornea to prevent thinning and the need for a corneal transplant.
With corneal cross-linking, riboflavin drops are applied to the affected eye for a period of about 30 minutes. Riboflavin is a type of vitamin B12 which is a normal part of a healthy diet. This is followed by a very comfortable ultraviolet light exposure treatment.
When this vitamin is dropped directly in the eye – and then exposed to the ultraviolet light – new cross-links between the collagen fibers in the cornea are formed. This process strengthens the cornea and can stop the progression of keratoconus.
Note: Corneal cross-linking will not eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.
If you are suffering from keratoconus, there are treatment options available for you. Contact Hiatt Eye Center to schedule your consultation, and your doctor will review the right keratoconus treatment option for you.