10 October 2019
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye condition affecting around 1 in 2,000 people in the UK. The front part of your eye, the cornea, becomes weaker and thinner, gradually losing its shape and becoming more cone-like. This can result in blurry vision, short-sighted, astigmatism and light sensitivity. Keratoconus typically affects people in their late teens and earlier 20s, and usually stabilises by the time they reach their mid-30s. Although nobody knows for certain what causes Keratoconus, it is thought to be a result of a number of environmental, genetic and hormonal factors. You can read more about Keratoconus and its development in an article we have written previously.
Treatment for Keratoconus
One of the most common treatments for the condition is Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL). We offer this to patients at Optimax to prevent the advancement of Keratoconus, and it involves a combination of vitamin B drops and UV light. These react with the natural collagen fibres in the cornea, strengthening it to slow the progression of the condition. It can also provide some visual improvement, as well as improving corneal shape.
While CXL is an effective treatment, it was developed in the 1990s, and there are now some more advanced procedures available for patients suffering with Keratoconus. One of these which will be offered at Optimax over the coming months is Small-incision LIKE with the XENIA implant. LIKE stands for Lenticular Intrastromal Keratoplasty and is used in conjunction with the XENIA lenticule, which is implanted into a corneal pocket. The process flattens the Keratoconic cornea, while also increasing corneal rigidity and stability. It provides vision improvement too, something which CXL can’t always achieve.
The treatment is particularly advanced as each lenticule used for each patient is individually customised to be biocompatible (eliminating the chance of the body rejecting the lenticule). No two cases of Keratoconus are the same, nor does each Keratoconus patient have the same prescription, so customising the Xenia implant provides much better long-term results for the patients.
Small-incision LIKE in action
The procedure will be performed at Optimax clinics by Dr Ilango, our Medical Director for Lens treatments. With over 25 years’ experience and more than 50,000 procedures completed, Dr Ilango is an expert in a range of vision correction surgeries. In fact, he was the first surgeon to bring this procedure to the UK; before him, corneal lenticule treatment had never been used in the UK.
If you are suffering with Keratoconus and feel that small-incision LIKE with the XENIA implant is something you’d like to learn more about, please get in touch. We will be introducing the treatment in our clinics over the coming months. We can then book you in for a consultation with an optometrist to assess your vision and discuss the best treatment options for you.