In the mildest form of keratoconus, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may help. But as the disease progresses and the cornea thins and changes shape even more, glasses or soft contacts will no longer correct your vision.
Rigid gas permeable contact lenses can also be used for some cases. The firmer material of a rigid contact lens holds the cornea in place better than a soft contact lens. Fitting contact lenses on a keratoconus cornea is delicate and time-consuming. You can expect frequent return visits to fine-tune the fit and the prescription. The process will begin again when the cornea thins and distorts even more, altering the contact lens fit and prescription needed for clear, comfortable vision.
A new treatment for keratoconus is corneal inserts. Intacs corneal rings received can be used to correct or reduce nearsightedness and astigmatism in keratoconus patients who can no longer obtain functional vision with contact lenses or eyeglasses. The procedure involves placing the plastic inserts just under the surface of the eye in the periphery of the cornea. The result is a flatter cornea and clearer vision. Take a look at the Intacs procedure at our Vision Correction corner under Keratoconus treatment.
Some people with keratoconus can’t tolerate a rigid contact lens, or they reach the point where contact lenses or corneal inserts no longer provide acceptable vision. The next step may be a corneal transplant, also called a penetrating keratoplasty. Even after a transplant, you most likely will need glasses or contact lenses for clear vision.