Defining Keratoconus and What You Can Do About It

Keratoconus is a progressive disease in which the cornea becomes misshaped (cone like shaped) and overtime decreases quality of vision. Though this disease can be disturbing when first explained, there are many treatments to assist in improving your overall vision. In some cases the vision can be restored if the cornea is strengthened and re-shaped.

Understanding that there are several treatments for this disease today can help you have peace of mind.

Keratoconus is often diagnosed in stages. These stages are determined by the progression of the Keratoconus and will also help the eye care professional determine which treatments are best for you. In years past, the treatment options that were initially discussed with glasses or contact lenses and then as the disease progresses doctors would encourage a cornea transplant. Most patients found the option of Keratoconus disturbing.

Today, there are other procedures that can be performed that preserve and improve vision. These treatments are Holcomb C3-R ®, INTACS, or even CK. Some of these procedures can be done in combination with each other to get a better result, improving your vision and providing better comfort in contacts.

Holcomb C3-R® (cornea collagen crosslinking) is an easy non-invasive treatment. Many describe this treatment as a natural vitamin treatment. A proprietary vitamin solution is instilled in the eyes and then activated by a UV light. The Holcomb C3-R ® only takes about 30 minutes to perform. Over the next 4-6 months the cornea continues to strengthen and stabilize your vision.

INTACS are often used in combination with the Holcomb C3-R® treatment. INTACS are tiny crescent moon-like shaped lenses that are placed in the layer of the cornea to provide support and improve your overall vision. The use of INTACS can improve your vision almost immediately and you can make a full recovery from this procedure within 2-8 weeks.

Below are some symptoms of Keratoconus:

 Double Vision
 Frequent Rubbing of Eyes
 Frequent changes in prescriptions
 Sensitivity to Light
 Ghost images
 Sudden Change in vision
 Halos
 Glares around lights

Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler, MD is a renowned eye surgeon specializing in Keratoconus Treatments, and other procedures. He developed alternatives to corneal transplants in 1999. Dr. Brian offers a complimentary record review to determine if these procedures might be right for you. Contact his office to reserve your complimentary records review: 310-594-5210

Watch how Jake’s vision was restored and he avoided the need for a cornea transplant:

Discovering Keratoconus: Symptoms & Treatments

For those with a family history of Keratoconus you probably already know the severity of the condition; however, if it has been a decade or two you might not be familiar with the newer, more advanced treatment options for Keratoconus.

In the past Keratoconus was mainly treated by using a corneal transplant. Often painful and with long recovery times and complications, they were a necessary but not convenient or desirable procedure. Over the past decades there have been many new treatments developed which cause little to no pain and provide much faster recovery times.

Signs & Symptoms of Keratoconus:

• Frequent Prescription changes
• Frequent eye rubbing
• Blurred vision
• Double vision
• Light sensitivity
• Halos around lights

Treatments for Keratoconus:

Keratoconus is a progressive condition that causes changes thinning and distortion of the cornea. Over time these changes cause distortions in the vision of the patient. There are several new treatments to strengthen and change the shape and of the cornea before the need for a corneal transplant. The treatment options have been extremely effective and reduced the need for corneal transplants to less than 5%.

Treatments:

Holcomb C3-R® Crosslinking System

Holcomb C3-R® is a non-invasive procedure that uses a Riboflavin solution activated by an ultraviolet light to strengthen the collagen fibers of the cornea. This helps to reduce glare and halos in the vision, while also stopping the progression of the Keratoconus.

The Holcomb C3-R® is a only a 30 minute treatment, however it continues to strengthen the cornea for up to 3-6 months after the treatment. Another great aspect is that it can also be performed in combination with other treatments to improve your results even further.

INTACS®

INTACS® are tiny crescent shaped inserts that are placed within the cornea to help change the shape of the cornea. INTACS® can also be used in combination with the Holcomb C3-R® to reduce distortions and increase comfort of glasses and contacts.
Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

CK is a vision correction treatment that uses heat to change the shape of the cornea and reduce astigmatism. When combined with the Holcomb C3-R® Crosslinking System, the CK treatment can effectively reduce astigmatism for a period of several years. Due to the nature of the cornea in Keratoconus patients the effect of CK can diminish with time. Patients may elect to have future CK to reduce astigmatism, if needed.

Watch Brad, a resident in general surgery, talk about his Keratoconus treatments, click below.

Finding Relief with LipiFlow®

Dealing with Keratoconus is difficult enough, but dry eyes and Keratoconus is a double trouble. For those who have been struggling with chronic dry eyes, LipiFlow® maybe the answer. Most patients have tried the over the counter “Get the Red Out” drops or artificial tears, and while they do relieve the irritation and symptoms of Dry Eye it is usually just a temporary fix. LipiFlow® allows you to have more permanent relief from your Dry Eye condition. Most patients experience relief after the treatment within a week.

The Procedure

The LipiFlow® treatment takes less than 15 minutes and can be performed in the doctor’s office. Disposable activators are placed on the eye lids to warm and gently massage the Meibomian glands on the eyelids. This loosens and releases oils that were clogging the glands, allowing fresh, clean oils to be excreted in the tear layers and protect the eyes.

There are between 30-40 meibum glands located within the eyelids that release certain amounts of oil into the tear fluid to help lubricate the eyes and stop the tears from evaporating. Sometimes these glands get clogged causing Dry Eye. The purpose of the LipiFlow® treatment is to loosen the blockage in the glands and allow them to release the natural flow of oil again.

Determining if you are a Good Candidate for LipiFlow®

The doctor will look for a few things before determining if you’re a good candidate for the treatment. They will look at your medical history, how long you have experienced chronic Dry Eye, how severe your dry eyes have been, and how the dry eye affected your daily activities. They will also have to determine what type you have before suggesting this treatment.They will also check the number of meibum glands are affected or clogged in the eyelids. Before determining if you are a good candidate all these factors must be taken into account. Over 65% of patients with dry eyes simply lack the proper level of oils within their tear fluid.

Benefits of LipiFlow®

Those with chronic Dry Eye understand the benefits of even the slightest relief from chronic dry eyes. Those who have explored most treatments for Dry Eye who still have little relief would most likely benefit from the LipiFlow® treatment. Below are a few additional benefits to consider.

Benefits:

• Little to no pain or discomfort
• Noninvasive procedure
• Quick procedure with quick results
• Unclogs the glands for more natural flow of lipid
• Can drive self to and from appointment – no need for a driver!

Dorys didn’t know what the cause of her excessive tearing was, and it ended up being Dry Eye!
Watch Dorys explain about her story, and how she finally got relief :

How Can Keratoconus Affect Your Pitch This Baseball Season?

Baseball season is back in full swing and for those who suffer from Keratoconus this season maybe a struggle for some who have already been diagnosed and some who might not even know they are suffering.

In the past, the diagnosis of Keratoconus had been a difficult one for eye doctors to diagnose. However, in recent years with modern equipment and increased training, more doctors are able to diagnose the condition sooner. The sooner a patient is diagnosed the better the prognosis for Keratoconus treatment and improving vision.

Below you will find some signs & symptoms of Keratoconus:

• Frequent changes in prescriptions
• Frequent eye rubbing
• Frequent squinting
• Blurred/Double Vision
• Poor night vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Halos/glares around lights

Blurred vision can be a problem if you are playing baseball. Your pitch depends on your ability to aim at the plate. Blurred vision can distort your view of the plate and cause you to struggle seeing when aiming for your target. Keratoconus can hinder your depth perception causing you to throw the ball to short or too far over the base when pitching.

In addition, if you are up to bat, blurred vision can cause you to misjudge when to swing your bat.
Your sight is a great treasure and reporting any changes, no matter how minor, to your eye care professional will help you in finding available treatment options.

Watch Tommy Pham of the Cardinals baseball team discuss his experience with Keratoconus treatments:

Keratoconus: True Testimonials – Meeting Brianna

Keratoconus is a progressive condition in which the sphere shape of the cornea becomes cone shape overtime. The change of shape in the cornea causes your vision to become distorted. Keratoconus didn’t have a lot of treatment options even just a decade ago. But with the increase of technology, several new treatment options for Keratoconus have become available. Two of these Keratoconus treatment options include: Holcomb C3-R ® and Intacs. These treatments offer incredible improvements in vision care for those suffering with Keratoconus.

Intacs provide an improvement to the shape of the cornea instantly changing the way the patient is seeing. But with the combination of the Holcomb C3-R ® procedure the corneal fibers are also strengthened which can slow or in many cases stop the progression of the Keratoconus. These treatments have been performed since 1999 and are providing excellent long-term results.

Meet Brianna:

Brianna was diagnosed with Keratoconus at the age of 10. Over the next 3 years her vision deteriorated causing her to lose her ability to participate in regular activities such as Volleyball, Horseback riding, and cheer-leading, which she loved so much.

She became afraid of losing her vision. She was afraid to ride her bike because she was worried about getting hit by a car. She was confused and didn’t understand why this loss in vision was happening to her. Three years after Brianna was diagnosed with Keratoconus she could only see a few feet in front of her and was quickly losing her ability to function normally. Worried she would become completely blind her grandmother looked into her treatment options for Keratoconus.

Quickly they arranged to have Brianna travel to Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills, CA. Within two days her vision was restored. Brianna is just one of the many stories for which these procedures have saved vision. These procedures have had a surprising impact on the treatment of Keratoconus.

Intacs & the Holcomb C3-R ® procedures are an impressive treatment for those suffering from Keratoconus.

You can watch Brianna’s story here:

A New Frontier for Keratoconus Treatment

The Holcomb C3-R ® is a procedure that uses a solution made of natural vitamins placed directly on the cornea to improve and strengthen the fibers of the cornea. This treatment helps to stabilize the cornea and slow/halt the progressive nature of this vision deteriorating condition. Full results of the treatment takes between 4 -16 weeks.

In combination with other treatments the Holcomb C3-R ® has the ability to dramatically improve a patient’s vision and improve their lives. In the past, many had to turn to corneal transplants as a treatment for Keratoconus. That procedure was risky, invasive, painful and had a long recovery time.

Now with improvements in technology, treatment options have become non-invasive or at the most minimally invasive. These advanced Keratoconus procedures have shorter than ever recovery time, usually a period of hours or days. Some combinations of treatments can be done the same day with no increases in recovery time.

The Procedure:

During the Holcomb C3-R ® procedure your eyes are numbed with eye drops and a proprietary solution developed by Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler in 2003 is applied to the cornea. Then the patient sits under a carefully calibrated UV light for 30 minutes, this activates the solution. The propriety eye drop solution is made with a natural vitamin called Riboflavin along with other ingredients which encourage the collagen within the cornea to build new crosslinks. These crosslinks is what strengthens the cornea. In some cases, this procedure has the added benefit of providing slight flatting of the cornea shape.

The procedure take about 30 minutes and is performed.

INTACS:

Intacs is often used in combination with the Holcomb C3-R ® to treat all stages of Keratoconus. While the Holcomb C3-R ® slightly changes the shape of the cornea, Intacs are used to help mold the cornea shape more. It uses tiny crescent shape lens inserts to help improve the cornea of the patient. When used in combination with the Holcomb C3-R ® it can improve the patient’s vision.

The Intacs procedure takes around 10 minutes and most patients report that the procedure was easier than a trip to the dentist. Vision of the patient improves almost instantly. Giving them the ability to have a better quality of vision with contacts or glasses.

Symptoms of Keratoconus:

It generally takes a while to be diagnosed with Keratoconus but if you have a family history of this condition or any of the below symptoms you should notify your eye care professional for further testing.

 Frequent changes in prescription
 Frequent eye rubbing
 Double vision
 Eye pain
 Halos or glares around the lights
 Light sensitivity

Dr. Brian discusses the testing used to diagnosed Keratoconus

Keratoconus Options: Treatment Success

For those who have had family members or close friends that were diagnosed with Keratoconus, treatment options probably didn’t sound very promising at that time. With new advancements in the treatment of Keratoconus, success is a common place. In fact over 90% of all patients with Keratoconus are now receiving successful treatments for their Keratoconus, and may have improved overall vision, WITHOUT the need to undergo a painful corneal transplant!

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that changes the shape of your cornea from circular to cone shaped over time. These distortions cause your vision to decrease and lower the quality of your vision, as well as your ability to complete your daily life activities. In past years there were only a few treatments available. A diagnosis of Keratoconus meant that you would eventually require a corneal transplant. Now only 5% of patients with Keratoconus eventually need a corneal transplant, and these cases are often due to additional circumstances beyond the Keratoconus diagnosis.

Below are a couple of the New Treatments for Keratoconus:

Holcomb C3-R® Crosslinking System

This treatment was developed over a decade ago and has made remarkable strides in successful Keratoconus treatment. This is a totally non-invasive treatment that only takes about 30 minutes to perform. It strengthens the cornea, reducing visual distortions, fluctuations, and can even occasionally improve overall vision.

INTACS

INTACS is another great treatment for those with Keratoconus that uses tiny segments which are placed in the cornea and reduce the steepness to create a more normal shape. This treatment requires little maintenance and the segments are intended to be left in the eye for a lifetime. The INTACS can be done in combination with the Holcomb C3-R ® to provide better results and is great for those with Keratoconus.

These amazing new treatments have restored hope in the lives of thousands of patients over the past decade. Knowing that there are several new treatment options out there to help you regain your vision should add new hope to your treatment’s success.

Listen to Tom’s story of avoiding a cornea transplant. Tom says “run, don’t walk to see Dr. Brian”

Early Prevention of Keratoconus Can Save Your Vision. Don’t Fall Off the Keratoconus Cliff!

There has been great strides of progress when it comes to Keratoconus and over the last decade we have found several new treatments to improve your overall quality of vision. Although Keratoconus is a progressive disease there are several treatments that can improve your vision and in some cases reverse the damage already done by the disease. There are screenings that help predict Keratoconus at an early stage.

Yearly screenings are important. They can help your eye care professional spot early signs of Keratoconus. If you have a family history of the disease you should inform the doctor right away. This will help them detect the disease in its earliest stage. There are several treatments available to assist you with your Keratoconus and improve your disease allowing you to be free of glasses and contact lenses in some cases. Below are some early warning signs of Keratoconus and New treatments for those with the disease.

Keratoconus Symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent Prescription changes
  • Halos
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Excessive rubbing of the eyes
  • Double Vision
  • Headaches

Treatments for Keratoconus:

  • Glasses, contact lenses – Changing prescriptions
  • IOL’s or Intra Ocular Lenses
  • CK
  • Holcomb C3-R ®
  • INTACS for Keratoconus

So if your question is, can Keratoconus be cured? No, but it can be treated. You can improve your overall quality of vision. And the earlier it is caught the better your vision can get. Some of the treatments in some cases have reversed the damage done by Keratoconus, but in most cases you can still get your vision back. So stop paying attention to all the blogs, magazines, articles, and general doctors, and consult an expert. Dr. Boxer Wachler, MD is a renowned eye surgeon specializing in Keratoconus treatments, LASIK, I-BRITE eye whitening, and other procedures.

Patient Pioneer – Dr. Brian’s Very First Intacs® for Keratoconus Patient 20 years ago

Evaluating a Family History of Keratoconus: Tips & Signs

When it comes to Keratoconus there are many questions about family history. The truth is you should always let your physician or eye care professional know when there is a history of medical conditions in the family. This can help them better assess your conditions. In fact many conditions are diagnosed with the help of family histories.

In past years there was little in the way of treatments when it came to Keratoconus. Many patients had to receive corneal transplants to relieve the Keratoconus. But now there are several new treatments which are very effective in slowing progression, reversing damage, and strengthening the cornea. This gives Keratoconus patients a much better prognosis in there Keratoconus treatment.

For those with a family history of Keratoconus having a family history only makes you at higher risk of getting the condition it’s not a guarantee. There are several steps to diagnosing Keratoconus but it can help the doctor determine your risk.

Below are some tips to help you find out more about Keratoconus:

Research- Research is a big part of being pro-active in your own health. Finding the right doctor, educating yourself on the conditions, and arming yourself with information will help you ensure that you get the right health care.

Finding the Right Doctor-It is important that you are comfortable with the doctor your choose whether it is an eye doctor, or general health care provider building trust and being able to ask them questions will help them and you in your treatment plans.

Be honest with them- No matter how small you think the change is be sure to tell them everything. Leaving things out can hinder your own treatment or diagnosis. Telling them when you have changes or even logging your symptoms will help them greatly in determining what it going on with your body.

Below are Signs of Keratoconus:

  • Frequent Eye Rubbing
  • Frequent Changes in prescriptions
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Halos or glares around lights
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Poor night vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Squinting or Straining Your Eyes

In traditional treatments glasses, contact lenses like RGP (Rigid Gas Permeable lenses) were used before the eventual corneal transplant. Now with today’s technology we are now rarely using the corneal transplants and treatments are more effective than ever before. Treatments like the Holcomb C3-R® procedure stop this progressive debilitating eye disease. When combined with Holcomb C3-R is combined with INTACS in addition to being effective in slowing/stopping the progression and/or reversing the progression of Keratoconus.

The overall outlook of Keratoconus treatment is a great one and with continued research and improvements to Keratoconus treatments we have less pain, and more improvement in your quality of vision.

Watch how Brianna’s life was changed by these advanced Keratoconus treatments: http://youtu.be/KZFC8NOp_hI

For more information on risk factors of Keratoconus visit www.nkcf.org/about-Keratoconus

How the Holcomb C3-R ® can Help Your Keratoconus – A Career in Auto Racing

While Keratoconus is an often debilitating condition there is hope in having a successful career in Auto Racing regardless of having Keratoconus. There are several new treatments that are not only improving patients Keratoconus but also bringing back the eyesight of many patients.

The Holcomb C3-R ® is a treatment that uses natural vitamin solution in the eye, and in combination with special UV lights the solution is activated. The solution will strengthen the fibers of the cornea which will improve the distortion in the eye over time.

Australian Race car driver Mark Skarife has had Keratoconus for over 10 years. His current treatments allow him to switch from contact lenses to glasses for his Keratoconus. However with the Holcomb C3-R ® Mark may have the ability to drive without any additional aids such as glasses or contact lenses. In an article in “All About Eyes” Mark stated “Contact lenses do not fog up like glasses tend to do”.

The truth is no matter what treatment you try it is up to you and your eye care professional to decide what works best for you. Can you have a career in Auto Racing and have Keratoconus, Yes. The trick is with any condition you have to monitor your condition, report and new symptoms, and understand how it can affect you in your future.

There are several treatments that can benefit you and your chosen career including Holcomb C3-R ® which can strengthen your vision naturally. INTACS which are inserted lenses that help support your natural lens.

Below are some symptoms of Keratoconus:

For those who are not familiar with Keratoconus, it is a progressive eye condition that causes thinning of your cornea changing it to a cone shape. The progression of the condition varies from person to person but the symptoms are generally the same.

  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent Changes in Prescription
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Increased blinking of the eyes

There have been a great deal of advancements in the improvement of vision for those suffering from Keratoconus. Checking out the latest in treatments could save you a great deal of time and symptoms. Treatments like Holcomb C3-R ®, INTACS, and CK can help you regain your life a little faster. For more information on how to treat your Keratoconus visit www.AmKC.org

Learn how Olympic Bobsled Driver’s Life was changed by Keratoconus Treatments: http://youtu.be/P8CWqVTnIp0