Determining the Stages of Keratoconus

Being diagnosed with Keratoconus is a hard thing. Learning what comes next in the process is most important. There are several tests that will be preformed on you to determine the condition of your cornea. This is one of the steps to determining how your doctor will treat your Keratoconus.

Slit-Lamp-

When you doctor is examining you he will want to look closer into you cornea. When he does this he will use a keratoscope. This device will help him see the surface of your cornea. It is not invasive and it will give him a better idea of the damage to your cornea.

Corneal Topography-

This instrument will give him more accurate details of the damaged area by looking at the cornea’s pattern. It analyzes the cornea’s topography and projects a digital image. The doctor can see the damage or scarring on the cornea and it can let the doctor see just how fast the disease is progressing.

Staging Keratoconus-

There are three levels of severity when it comes to Keratoconus. The doctor can use his topography and determine with close certainty how severe the disease is. Below are a few ways to tell:

Testing Steepness of greatest Curvature

40-45D is mild

52 D is considered advance

Above 52D is severe

Thickness of the Cornea

Mild- 506

Advanced- Less than 446

Morphology of the Cone-

If the cone is sagging it too is an indicator of the advancing of the disease.

Since the use of Corneal Topography we have not used the terms advanced and severe as we used to. However the image that they provide will help you doctor determine the next course of action. Making sure you ask questions and understand what is going on every step of the way will ensure a greater chance of full recovery. Trust your doctor and let him know you concerns I am sure he will listen!

For more information about keratoconus visit AllAboutVision.com

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 a Family History of Keratoconus

If you have a family history of Keratoconus you may already be familiar with some of the treatments of the condition. However over the past 10 years there has been great advancements in the treatments used for Keratoconus. So the treatment plans that may have been used in the past for your family members like corneal transplants are rarely needed to treat the condition. In fact 95% or more of patients diagnosed with Keratoconus never need a corneal transplant.

There are several new treatments that have been developed for use in patients with Keratoconus. These treatments often lead to a greater improvement in the quality of vision for the patients for now and in the future. The progression of the condition often slows, or stops with some treatments. Designing a treatment plan is a great first step in your treatments. Below are some of the signs of Keratoconus. If you have any of these signs, and a family history consult your eye care professional.

Below you will find the symptoms of Keratoconus. If you have or had any of the following symptoms it is wise to report them to your eye doctor right away:

Problems with night vision

Headaches

Eye strain

Sudden clouding of vision

Frequent prescription changes

Blurred or distorted vision

Increased sensitivity to light

Halos around lights at night

Double vision

Remember that your eyes are your key to the world. And while we can make it without our vision it is important to take care of the eyes you have. Be sure to go to the eye doctor once a year, every 6 months if you have underlining conditions like diabetes type 2, cataracts, Keratoconus, etc. Your vision is important to the quality of your life. So improve your quality of vision by finding the right doctor and keeping up with your yearly checkups.

For more information on Keratoconus visit Wikipedia.

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 :

Vision Safety & Staying Active With Keratoconus

For those who are looking to get active this summer , but struggle with Keratoconus on a daily basis, there are several things you can do to protect your vision from getting worse and a few to stay active.

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that changes the shape of your cornea from spherical to cone shaped. This change causes many distortions in your vision. Below are a few tips to help you protect your vision and stay active during the summer months.

Vision Tips & Safety:

Always Wear Sunglasses or Eye Protection When Outside:

This is very important to remember not just in the summer months but all year around. The sun has very harmful rays which not only damage the eyes but can make your eye conditions worse if not protected. Research is showing that UV can increase free radicals which can lead to the cornea collagen breaking down further. It is important to wear sunglass eye wear that covers the sides as well as the front, this will ensure the most protection to your eyes.

Limit the Amount of Time Spent in Direct Sunlight:

If you work outside this may not be a feasible option, however if you don’t have to be in direct sunlight taking breaks throughout the day is a wise option. Some sunlight 20-30 minutes a day provides you the required amount of daily vitamin D, some sunlight is essential to staying healthy but remembering “everything in moderation” is always best.

Pay Attention to your eyes:

This seems like a common sense thing, but we often over look our vision until something goes considerable wrong. If you are noticing that you are squinting more or your contacts are becoming more uncomfortable, make an appointment to see your eye care provider sooner rather than later. If you find your desire to participate in activities is declining due to uncertainty with your vision, make an appointment to see your eye doctor.

It is important to educate ourselves and listen to our bodies when it comes to our health. Often we see the signs but we simply wave it off as being tired, dehydrated, or simply getting old when in fact it can be something much more serious. Don’t overlook signs or symptoms that might suggest your Keratoconus is progressing.

Below are a few signs you should never write off when it comes to your vision care:

• Increased blurred vision
• Frequent squinting
• Sudden eye pain
• Increasing discomfort while wearing contacts
• Increased and Frequent eye rubbing
• Sensitivity to Light
• Decreased night vision

If you see any changes in your vision, you should report it to your eye care professional right away to determine whether you need to be seen.

Watch Dr. Brian’s Summer Eye Health Tips Featured on the News to get yourself ready for an eye safe summer:

Has Keratoconus Affected Your Career?

Has Keratoconus forced you to give up your career? While Keratoconus is a progressive condition there are several treatments that are now available to help preserve and improve your vision.

In the past, Keratoconus was a diagnosis that often meant a painful corneal transplant and a long recovery period. Now there are treatments that provide patients diagnosed with Keratoconus options that can slow, reverse, and even stop the progression of the condition giving you back your vision and your career.

Below are some signs & symptoms:

• Blurred vision
• Double vision
• Frequent prescription changes
• Frequent rubbing of the eyes
• Foreign body sensations
• Deceased ability to wear contacts comfortably
• Halos around lights
• Light sensitivity
• Decreased night vision

There are several treatments that can provide you relief right away depending on the severity of your condition.

Today’s Keratoconus Treatments Include:

Intacs:

Intacs® are tiny crescent shaped lens inserts that are placed in the layer of the cornea. Intacs® provide help reshape the cornea and decrease vision distortion. Once in place, Intacs® do not require maintenance. If for any reason you don’t want them in the future, they can be removed.

Typically the procedure takes about 7 minutes and has a recovery time of about 24-48 hours. Patients report the recovery is fairly easy with little to no pain. Most activities can be resumed right away. Intacs® can be combined with other procedures to improve the outcome for Keratoconus treatment, including the Holcomb C3-R ®, and CK.

The Holcomb C3-R ®:

The Holcomb C3-R ® is a revolutionary treatment with over 12 years of proven results to stop the progression of Keratoconus. Just ask Olympic Gold Medalist and Bobsledder Steven Holcomb. He was diagnosed legally blind and almost gave up his career as a driver for the US Men’s Olympic Bobsled team. He decided to have the C3-R ® procedure done. The Holcomb C3-R ® not only preserved his vision, but when combined with the ICL (insertable contact lens) allowed him to continue to compete and he won Olympic Gold in 2010 and Olympic Bronze in 2014.

The Holcomb C3-R ® uses a natural vitamin call Riboflavin which is activated with a UV light during an easy 30 minutes office based treatment. Once the solution is activated it strengthens the cornea fibers over the next 16 weeks helping to stabilize Keratoconus and stop progression. This treatment is non-invasive and recovery is less than 24 hours. In 99.3% of patients, the treatment only needs to be performed once.

Watch the story of Steven Holcomb here:

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 Symptoms & How They Affect Your Daily Life

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that changes the shape of your cornea. This change causes many difficulties in the patient’s everyday life. The patient’s quality of vision deteriorates as the condition gets worse over the years. Many patients suffer from poor night vision, blurred, or double vision, and may have other symptoms which can cause them to become unable to drive at night, play sports, or causing problems completing tasks at school and/or work.

Keratoconus treatments improve the problem from its source by reshaping the cornea and strengthening it. These treatments can improve your overall quality of vision and reduce the likelihood the condition will progress further.

Some Symptoms are:

• Blurred vision
• Double vision
• Poor night vision
• Frequent eye rubbing
• Frequent prescription changes
• Glares over lights/halos

Many patients with Keratoconus have difficulty dealing with the symptoms. Treatments like the Holcomb C3-R®, INTACS, and CK can improve the condition greatly and give you a better quality of vision. In some cases the Holcomb C3-R® and INTACS can be done in combination and can slow, stop, and even sometimes reverse the visual presentation of Keratoconus by flattening the cones.

Holcomb C3-R® Crosslinking System: A non-invasive treatment that uses a solution which is created with a vitamin called Riboflavin. This procedure requires the use of UV lights at activate the solution over once it is applied. It takes about 30 minutes and strengthens the corneal fibers

INTACS: INTACS are tiny inserts that are placed in the cornea to help reshape it to a more normal shape and reduce distortion.

If you are looking for treatment options for Keratoconus you can read more about Holcomb C3-R® and INTACS to see for yourself how they can help with your symptoms and treat your disease.

Watch the video below to see ‘First Hand’ how these treatments can change your life:

Two Common Eye Problems & Their Treatments

There are several eye conditions that are treated regularly every year. Most patients experience at least one of these common conditions in their lifetime. We often forget to take care of our eyes as we become adults. The old saying “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” often plays its part when it comes to the eyes.
Those who play sports may have a greater likelihood of getting common eye injuries like detached retina or snow blindness if they are actively outdoors. Viral and bacterial infections like pink eye are also common. Below are a few more common eye conditions and their treatment options.
1) Dry Eyes: Dry Eye is a very common condition that can be a problem for many patients. Whether it’s mild or severe it can stop or reduce your daily activities.
Treatments: Some known treatments for Dry Eye are over the counter drops. Artificial tears or even a new non-invasive procedure called LipiFlow.
Watch Susan’s story about her experience with LipiFlow after seeing a number of doctors who never provide hope for her dry eyes

2) Cataracts: Cataracts quite often affect those who are increased in age. Cataracts are a cloud that forms over the eyes lens. It progresses over time and decreases vision of the patient who has it.
Treatment: Treatment for advanced Cataracts is most often surgery where the natural lens is removed and replaced with a clear, artificial lens. Cataracts often develop more rapidly and deteriorate the vision more quickly in those who suffer with other medical conditions like Type 2 diabetes.
Watch Allen’s story about his experience with Cataract surgery and how he know sees like a teenager: