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Keratoconus (Conical Cornea) Treatment in Israel

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted vision. Most often, keratoconic patients may complain of light sensitivity, double vision and blurred vision. Hardly ever keratoconus may cause a total blindness. In most cases, vision can be significantly improved with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses.
As the disease progresses to a more severe stage, a surgery may be required for some patients.

Disease Symptoms and Signs

The objects become blurry at the edges and vision gets unsatisfactory regardless of the distance. There is also observed poor night vision. Glare and light sensitivity also may occur. In addition, the blurred vision decreases ability to see three-dimensional objects, especially when one eye is struck by the disease more than another eye.

Disease Diagnosis

It is difficult to diagnose keratoconus during the initial stages of its development, as it is often confused with the regular nearsightedness. Particularly in some really bad cases, there is partial damage of the cornea that causes a small bulging in the size of a bead filled with liquid on its surface. There is a risk that damage of the cornea will increase and the eye may be lost, therefore, there is required an urgent transplantation of donor cornea. Sometimes, the patients do not see problems at an early stage of the disease, so people who have high genetic risk are recommended to undergo periodic eye examinations in order to prevent progression of the disease and irreversible vision damage, which will require a corneal transplantation.

Disease Contraction

The disease usually begins to develop in the second half of the second decade of life and can continue to grow until the fourth decade of life.
This is a disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape, which means that the light cannot pass directly through to the retina due to a faulty refraction of light.
Keratoconus usually occurs in both eyes, but not always it has the same form. Factors that affect the disease development are completely unknown, although there are some genetic factors that underline its development, and as well there are some assumptions about the statistical relationship between relatives who have keratoconus.
In addition, there are suspicions about other factors such as social class, race, and others. The University of Washington developed the hypothesis that refers the disease to cell death of the cornea, which was caused by mini-injuries. Other researchers suggest that due to decrease in aldehyde dehydrogenase activity in the cornea, there are accumulated free radicals and other oxidants that cause corneal dystrophy.

Keratoconus Treatment

Corneal strengthening treatment that may help patients to prevent the progression of keratoconus (Corneal crosslinking - strengthens corneal tissue to halt bulging of the eye's surface).

Keratoconus treatment options include a sequence of medical technologies aimed to stabilize the structural changes in the cornea and restore vision. In addition to that all effort is directed to avoid having the corneal transplantation. The crosslinking procedure is done at the beginning of treatment. This medical technology stabilizes the development of keratoconus, namely corneal ectasia gets stabilized and it does not continue bulging, therefore the patient’s vision remains stable and does not get progressively worse.
It should be noticed that the use of crosslinking technology can significantly improve vision for most patients with keratoconus and very thin corneas.

Treatment Schedule

It has two stages:

  1. This method consists of saturating the cornea with Riboflavin solution and then exposing the surface of cornea to UV light, which leads to the formation of corneal linking between the corneal collagen fibrils, in other words, it increases the cornea strength.
    • The first stage, there are applied special eye drops containing a photosensitive substance with 2-minute interval.
    • The second stage, the cornea is exposed to UV-X for 30 minutes.

    This way, the progression of keratoconus is stopped and eye refraction remains stable.

  2. Bandage. Finally, the antibiotic is applied to the cornea, as well as the soft contact is covered on the patient's eye. This medical procedure is done on an outpatient basis.

Pre-Surgery Instructions

  • Please, do not wear eye makeup for three days prior to a treatment.
  • Also, take a shower or bath and wash the hair to reduce the risk of infection before the surgery.
  • Eat a light and healthy meal on the day of surgery.
  • Drink as usual.
  • Recommended to arrive at the Medical Center for surgery with relatives.

Post-Surgery Instructions

  • Please, do not touch or rub, or wash the eye with water and soap until complete epithelial healing and the removal of the lens (within 4-7 days).
  • After epithelial healing, the patient can return to normal activities as before the surgery, as well may wear glasses, but there may be some refraction changes.
  • Contact lenses may be gotten within a month.
  • Any physical activities should be avoided for a week after the surgery.
  • Avoid swimming in the sea or a pool within one month after the surgery.
  • The patient will be invited to an additional medical examination.