The cornea is essentially the eye’s “window”. This clear, outer layer on the eyeball’s surface assists in focusing light rays on to the eye’s light-sensitive film called the retina. As a result, a “picture” is produced for the brain. However, should the cornea incur damage or change shape, this picture can become unclear or distorted, as light is prevented from reaching the retina correctly, which is why sufferers of Keratoconus often have high and complex prescriptions.
Keratoconus comes from the combination of two Greek words, ‘kerato’ for cornea and ‘konos’ for cone. It is a progressive degenerative disease that causes the cornea to lose stability leading to thinning and bulging into a cone shape consequently weakening the integrity of the cornea. Keratoconus affects one in every 2000 people and the severity varies between individuals.
This debilitating disease normally presents itself between the ages of 10 to 25 and it is progressive, usually starting in one eye and, over time, it can progress to the other.
The exact cause is unknown but studies suggest it can be hereditary and often runs in families. Chromosomal and connective tissue disorders have been strongly linked to the presence of Keratoconus.
Atopic conditions like eczema, asthma and hay fever have been associated with the disease and symptoms caused by those conditions lead to rubbing of the eyes which in turn accelerates the disease. Excessive contact with the eye has been linked to the progression of the disease, including trauma and poor fitting contact lenses.
Keratoconus causes an increase in corneal steeping that thins the cornea and leads to complex high prescriptions with an irregular corneal astigmatism. This leads to a deterioration in vision causing an impairment that drastically affects lives. Sufferers experience:
The early stage of Keratoconus can result in relatively mild symptoms. These might include mildly blurred vision or slightly distorted vision, in which straight lines might be discernibly bent or wavy. You could also feel unusually sensitive to light and glare and experience eye redness or swelling.
Whilst Keratoconus is showing mild symptoms, the vision can be corrected with glasses. If you typically wear contact lenses, you might have to use special hard lenses as a means of assisting in restoring your vision to proper focus.
As Keratoconus continues to worsen, you could also get increased near sightedness or astigmatism, which would affect your eye’s usual ability to focus. As this ability falters, you might have to source new glasses prescriptions more often.
With moderate Keratoconus, sufferers will no longer be able to find glasses to correct their prescriptions and are forced to wear hard, rigid or gas permeable contact lenses (these lenses are costly, painful and cannot be worn for extended periods of time).
Typically, years can pass before Keratoconus progresses from the early to late stages. However, in some instances, Keratoconus can worsen quickly. Symptoms of worsening Keratoconus often include an increase in both blurriness and distortion in vision.
If left untreated, Keratoconus can either stabilise naturally after impairing vision significantly or can continue to progress until a corneal transplant is required.
Given the nature of the disease and the importance of vision in everyone’s daily lives, it is crucial that you tackle the fundamental issue giving rise to these symptoms in the first place. For this reason, you should seriously consider taking advantage of our range of Keratoconus treatments at our UK clinic, which is easy to find on Harley Street.
Keratoconus is a progressive degenerative disease that can affect both eyes causing the cornea to thin and become misshapen taking a conical shape. This causes complex prescriptions and if left untreated can lead to a corneal graft. AVC offer total visual rehabilitation with treatments that halt the disease, makes contact lens wear more comfortable and corrects prescriptions, removing the dependency on visual aids.
AVC are one of the only clinics in the country to offer total visual rehabilitation for sufferers of Keratoconus by providing treatments to:
Suitability for this type of Keratoconus treatment will be determined at the consultation after comprehensive testing. AVC’s leading surgeon, Dr Pillai is a highly respected corneal specialist who is present throughout every patient’s journey and designs a personalised treatment plan to achieve the visual goals of every individual.
Collagen Cross Linking halts the progression of the disease and it is only required once to cause a permanent change.Cross Linking
Corneal Implants are used to reshape irregular corneas making contact lenses more comfortable and can partially improve vision.Corneal Implants
Kerasoft lenses are tailor made soft lenses designed for high/complex prescriptions and irregular shaped corneas.Kerasoft Lenses
Once the progression of Keratoconus stopped there are treatments available to correct prescription caused by the disease.Correcting Residual Prescriptions
AVC are leading providers in treatments for Keratoconus. We offering complete visual rehabilitation for sufferers of Keratoconus, providing treatments to halt the disease, make contact lens wear more comfortable and treatments for total vision correction.
We are one of the only clinics in the country to offer such a comprehensive range of services for the sufferers of Keratoconus all under one roof. As specialists we also provide tailor made fitting for Kerasoft lenses to reduce the inconvenience caused by removing contact lenses. All of our patients are provided with the best care and results, constantly surpassing expectations.
Dr Pillai is a corneal specialist and with over 25 years of ophthalmic experience his knowledge in this field is unsurpassed. Bespoke treatments are tailor made to correct the visual impairment and discomfort caused by the disease.
An annual follow up is advised once the aftercare program is completed (charged at £100 per visit)
* Fee includes comprehensive testing with the latest technology and the opportunity to meet with the AVC Medical Director and Lead Surgeon, Dr CT Pillai. We ensure everybody benefits from his expertise, has a definitive answer about suitability and is given a bespoke treatment plan.
To make vision correction treatment more affordable, we provide flexible interest free finance plans. Using our flexible finance options, you can spread the cost of your surgery with interest free monthly repayments, meaning you don’t pay more than the actual cost of your surgery.
At AVC, we value flexibility and give our patients the option to pay a larger deposit to reduce the cost of the monthly repayments. We have partnered with Hitachi Finance to provide finance plans that are not only interest free but can be paid off early without being penalised.
12 months interest-free finance
is available starting from just £141.67 per month for complete treatment per eye, with a deposit of £250 (APR 0%) per eye, subject to application. If you wish to pay a larger deposit, even lower monthly finance rates are available, all interest-free.
Keratoconus is a common bilateral corneal disease that occurs in more than 1 in 2,000 people.
Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins causing a cone like bulge to develop. As a result the eye develops a high complex prescription with an astigmatism. Keratoconus is not visible to the naked eye but is apparent in an examination by an optometrist and scans.
The thinning and bulging of the cornea typically causes myopia (short sight) and astigmatisms. It can produce symptoms like blurring, ghosting, multiple images, sensitivity to light, difficulty seeing at night (halos and glare) and a fluctuating prescription. In advanced Keratoconus, scarring and loss of transparency of the clear cornea can cause permanent poor vision.
Even though it is a degenerative disease there are patients where the disease naturally stabilises. This means that when a patient is over the age of 45 and have not required a corneal graft, their prescription is likely to have stabilised naturally. For those that the disease does not stabilise, it can mean the patient may need a corneal graft.
There is no cure for keratoconus and it cannot be treated with medication. In the early stages glasses or soft contact lenses can be used to correct the vision. As the cornea continues to thin and bulge, more complex and custom-made contact lenses such as hard, rigid or gas permeable contact lenses can be used to correct the vision. However, these can be difficult to fit or tolerate. Contact lenses do not make the Keratoconus better or worse but improve your vision whilst wearing them.
Where the keratoconus is progressing, or for those who are at high risk of it worsening, Collagen Cross Linking can be used stop or slow down the deterioration. Once the disease is stable there are several options that will be offered to patients to either make contact lenses wear more comfortable (Corneal implants) or completely correct the prescription (Implantable Contact Lenses and Clear Lens Exchange).
Ultraviolet light and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) drops are used to strengthen the cornea. The principal of Cross-linking is photopolymerisation. Riboflavin drops are administered to a de-epithelialised cornea and is activated by the UV light. The light induced production of oxygen radicals leads to the development of strong chemical bonds between collagen fibres, thereby stiffening and strengthening the cornea.
It is a non-surgical procedure: there are no incisions or stitches. The procedure is extremely safe and straightforward and only needs to be carried out once to cause a permanent change.
The Riboflavin drops used are simply vitamin B12, commonly used in foods and is harmless. The UV light exposure throughout the procedure is less than or comparable to the exposure the eye experiences throughout a full day outdoors in the summer Additionally, the wavelength is such that it is absorbed effectively enough to protect the deeper layers of the eye, consequently posing no risk.
These are Intrastromal Corneal Ring Segments (ICRS) like INTACS, Kerarings and Ferrara rings. They are clear, micro-thin, crescent-shaped devices that are inserted into the cornea to help flatten the corneal shape and thus correct some of the prescription.
Corneal implants are a treatment option for sufferers of mild to moderate Keratoconus that is quick and effective. They are safe, reversible and do not affect the central visual axis of the cornea.
The Intrastromal Corneal Ring Segments are made of poly-methyl-methacrylate which is a biocompatible material and will not be rejected by the body. They are also removable and exchangeable so different rings can be used as the correction required changes.
There is no change in the appearance of the eye after Collagen Cross Linking treatment and Corneal Implants are extremely difficult to see without a microscope or getting very close.
After surgery, your cornea will require time to settle and during this your prescription will fluctuate. It is possible to be refitted for glasses or contact lenses after the vision has stabilised. If a patient wears Kerasoft lenses they will be able to wear contact lenses sooner (usually a few weeks after the procedure).
If your Keratoconus is stable, whether naturally or with Collagen Cross Linking, there are Kerasoft lenses and treatments available to correct the prescription caused by the disease. Dependent on your age, Clear Lens Exchange or Implantable Contact Lens treatment can be performed to free you from glasses and contact lenses.