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Keratoconus is a fairly uncommon eye condition, affecting roughly 1 in 2,000 people. The disease causes progressive weakening and thinning of the cornea, which causes it to bulge into a cone shape. It is typically not correctable with glasses, requiring specialty contact lenses, or in severe cases if left untreated, a corneal transplant.

The first signs of keratoconus usually appear in your teenage years. In most people, the condition continues to progress until their 40s or 50s. Keratoconus affects individuals throughout the world, and doesn’t have a significant geographic or cultural footprint. Keratoconus has a hereditary component, and is also strongly linked to vigorous eye rubbing and Down’s Syndrome.

Treatments Options

Cross-linking – With collagen cross-linking (CXL), you can halt the progression of keratoconus by strengthening your cornea. This ground-breaking procedure has helped tens of thousands of people around the world.

Intacs® segments in an eye with keratoconus

Intacs® – The surgical implantation of intracorneal ring segments or Intacs® is a minimally invasive surgical option to improve the corneal shape and vision in patients with keratoconus. Intacs are surgically inserted into a thin channel in the periphery of the cornea, and cannot be felt or seen by the naked eye. Few surgeons today perform Intacs® surgery due to the greater surgical skill and experience required, but it can be a great option for patients with moderate keratoconus who are not candidates for corneal crosslinking. 

Conductive Keratoplasty –  A noninvasive procedure which utilizes radiofrequency energy to correct low levels of hyperopia and astigmatism. Because it does not ablate or cut corneal tissue, it can be a great ancillary treatment to improve vision in eyes with keratoconus, especially when combined with Intacs® surgery.

Corneal transplantation – For severe cases of keratoconus in which the corneas are extremely thin, irregular, or scarred, a cornea transplant can be done to replace the diseased cornea with a healthy donor cornea. Dr. Zhu will let you know the right options for you.