It is estimated that 1 in 2000 people have keratoconus, a degenerative eye condition that causes the shape of the cornea to slowly change from a round dome to an irregular cone shape as an area of the cornea progressively becomes thinner and weaker. Keratoconus affects vision as the condition progresses, often reaching a point where glasses and contact lenses are no longer able to provide adequate vision. Historically, up to 25% of keratoconus cases eventually require a corneal transplant.

Over the past several years, new treatment options for keratoconus have been introduced. These treatments can delay or prevent the necessity of corneal transplantation, or improve results for those patients who do require transplants. Hoopes Vision, in keeping with its commitment to offering patients the latest and best in vision correction technology, is at the leading edge of these new procedures. One such treatment option is the Intacs(R) procedure. Intacs(R) are small, curved, clear plastic inserts that are placed into the outer edges of the cornea. These inserts strengthen and reshape the cornea, slowing or stopping the effects of keratoconus and improving vision. Hoopes Vision surgeons, such as fellowship-trained corneal specialist Phillip C. Hoopes, Jr., MD, have been implanting Intacs(R) since 2005, providing less invasive, less costly alternative to corneal transplantation.

Another recent advance in the treatment of keratoconus is corneal collagen cross-linking. In the cross-linking procedure, the cornea is prepared with a solution containing riboflavin (Vitamin B6), and then exposed to a special ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet rays and the chemical solution combine to cause the tissues of the cornea to strengthen and stiffen, halting the progress of keratoconus. Cross-linking has been performed successfully in Europe for over a decade, but is only now being introduced in the United States. Under the guidance of Dr. Robert P. Rivera, Director of Clinical Research, Hoopes Vision is currently participating in clinical trials for a new, more advanced cross-linking procedure.

Finally, even for those patients who do not respond to other treatments, and who still require corneal transplantation, there are new options that can improve safety and visual outcomes. Newer partial-thickness, laser-assisted corneal transplants offer lower rates of graft rejection, and faster post-operative recovery, than traditional corneal transplants. Dr. Michael J. Bradley, a fellowship-trained corneal specialist and surgeon at Hoopes Vision, is one of only a handful of doctors performing these new advanced transplant procedures.

Keratoconus is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is a degenerative condition that can progress to the point that everyday tasks are difficult, even with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Hoopes Vision, by providing a variety of treatments, and quickly adopting new technology and procedures, is committed to helping these patients achieve their best vision. If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, please contact Hoopes Vision at 801.568.0200 to set up a comprehensive exam and discuss your treatment options.

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