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he diagnosis of keratoconus occurs when the cornea of the eye becomes thin and starts to slowly bulge outward into a cone shape. The cornea is the part of the eye that is clear and dome shaped. This situation within the eye creates blurred vision, some sensitivity to light or glare. Most of the time keratoconus affects both eyes and is usually diagnoses in young people, around the age of 10 to 25 years.
As this situation develops over time the use of special glasses or soft contact lens become less successful as a treatment. Often, if further contact lenses are not successful, a corneal transplant may be indicated to resolve the problem.
Benefits of Keratoconus Treatments
Any vision problems interrupt your daily activities and may affect your freedom of movement if the condition becomes serious enough to create a safety hazard while driving.
Treatment may alleviate difficulties with night time vision, decrease the number of times an individual will have to change eye glass or contact lens prescription and will prevent worsening vision.
Depending on severity and length of time with current symptoms, several tests may be run to make a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan. For less severe cases, some options include but are not limited to:
Rigid gas permeable contact lens
Eyeglasses or soft contact lenses, which are the most common treatments for this condition.
Hybrid Lens which are firmer in the center and softer around the edges.
If your situation is more serious, surgery may be an option and may include:
* Cornea Inserts also known as Intracorneal ring segments; During this surgery, the surgeon places two tiny, clear plastic inserts into the cornea to flatten the cone shape it has become.
This procedure often restores a more normal shape of the cornea, slow the progress of keratoconus and may eliminate the need for a cornea transplant.
* Cornea Transplant, also known as keratoplasty, which is used for conditions that have been created by scarring or extreme thinning of the cornea. There are several types of cornea treatemtns available:
*Lamellar Keratoplasty is considered a partial –thickness transplant where onaly a portion of the cornea is replaced.
*Penetrating Keratoplasty is the most common cornea transplant procedure where the entire cornea is transplanted.
*A deep anterior lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) saves the inner layer of the cornea. This is a technique used in full-thickness transplants to help reduce incidence of tissue rejection problems.
How Much does Keratoconus Treatment Cost?
Cost of keratoconus treatments depend on the approach to surgery or procedure. Average total cost for cornea transplant ranges between $7,500 and $15,000 for the uninsured. In the United States, the cost of Intacs ranges between $3,000 and $5,000 per eye, though some medical insurance plans will cover the costs to remedy ailments, such as keratoconus.
Who Performs Karatoconus Treatments or Surgery?
An ophthalmologist should be licensed and trained and certified to perform eye surgical procedures. He or she should also be trained to use of laser and ultrasound equipment. Medical licensing in the United States is by local, state, and national medical boards. A good choice would be a doctor who is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, or one who is associated with an academic medical center as they are more apt to be trained in new or advanced procedures.
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