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Keratoconus

The Wellington Eye Centre has some of the most advanced equipment available anywhere in the world, for the diagnosis and treatment of Keratoconus.

For clear eyesight, your cornea (which does most of your eye’s focusing) needs to be evenly curved into a spherical shape. In keratoconus, your cornea is affected, causing an area of weakness to develop inside it. The cornea is then too weak to resist the normal fluid pressure inside your eye, which means the cornea bulges outwards into a cone shape, affecting your vision.

What treatment options are available?

At the Wellington Eye Centre we focus on early detection, while offering the most up-to-date and safest technology currently available, to provide the best options to treat keratoconus.

Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL): This is one of the most important medical care advances in the last 20 years. It’s been extensively tested and researched and has proven its safety and effectiveness in halting keratoconus’ progression and also in improving vision.

Most cross-linking techniques used today take over an hour to perform. Yet we’re proud to be the first eye centre in Australasia to install Avedro’s Accelerated Cross Linking System, which reduces the time taken to perform corneal collagen cross-linking to less than 15 minutes.

Intracorneal Rings: The Wellington Eye Centre pioneered the use of corneal rings to treat keratoconus, with the use of INTACS rings. We now use Kerarings to improve vision for patients with keratoconus. Kerarings are tiny Perspex rings, about the size and shape of a clipping from your little fingernail. These are inserted into a pocket in the cornea, and act as a splint to flatten the steep and irregular cornea which occurs in eyes with keratoconus. If you are suitable for the use of intracorneal rings, this will be discussed with you by your eye surgeon.

Additional treatment options include:

  • Glasses and contact lenses (although they have no effect on stopping the progression of keratoconus)
  • Corneal rings
  • Corneal transplant - DALK (Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty) and PKP (Penetrating Keratoplasty)

Frequently asked Questions

What causes keratoconus?

The main cause isn’t fully understood, but keratoconus can be inherited. If you have allergies, you’re more at risk of keratoconus. As the allergy can cause itchy eyes, prolonged eye rubbing tires and weakens the cornea, leading to corneal bulging and keratoconus. Even without allergies, you can become a compulsive eye rubber and develop keratoconus.

How is keratoconus diagnosed?

We use a variety of methods, including your glasses prescription (especially if your vision can’t be corrected to a normal level with glasses); keratometry; corneal topography/mapping; and ORA (Ocular Response Analyser).

What happens to my vision if I develop keratoconus?

You’ll notice your vision getting worse, resulting in short sightedness and astigmatism, which will get progressively worse the longer the keratoconus goes untreated. Although at first your vision may improve with glasses, if keratoconus continues to go untreated, you may need to use hard contact lenses and even undergo a corneal transplant.

What should I do if I develop keratoconus?

The most important thing to do is to stabilise the cornea and stop the keratoconus getting worse. With the techniques we offer, such as corneal collagen cross-linking, this can be done successfully in almost all cases.

If you’re newly diagnosed or if your keratoconus is getting worse, we advise you to:

  • Avoid eye rubbing: Eye rubbing can cause keratoconus or make it worse. Use eye drops to alleviate the itch, if necessary.
  • Get a second opinion: Talk to your current eye care provider or us about how to manage your keratoconus and whether you’re suitable for corneal collagen cross-linking.

Can you screen for keratoconus?

If you have a family history of keratoconus, then it’s worth being screened. We offer keratoconus screening at our Wellington clinic for a small fee. Contact us to book your appointment. Download the free keratoconus information brochure

Ask us about our accommodation package today.

An accommodation package is available for our laser eye surgery customers living outside the Wellington region. Contact us online or by phone for more information.