Keratoconus – A patient’s thoughts on having treatment

By Aris Konstantopolous

Keratoconus is a progressive condition in which the cornea, the clear round window at the front of eye, becomes weaker and bulges forward. The change in shape alters the refractive properties of the cornea, reducing the quality of vision. As the condition becomes more advanced and the astigmatism irregular, glasses fail to compensate for this, resulting in blurred vision.

Corneal collagen cross-linking is the only proven treatment option that can stop progression of the condition and visual loss; however, it does not improve the condition or any visual loss that may have already developed which is why it is essential to treat early.

What options are there for patients with keratoconus to see better?

  • Glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Laser treatment
  • Intrastromal corneal ring segments
  • Corneal transplantation

Our consultants at Laser Vision Eye Centre can advise you on the most appropriate treatment for you. To learn more about treatments and vision correction options for keratoconus visit the keratoconus page of our website. If you have keratoconus and would like to see better book an appointment at our Laser Vision Eye Centre website or call 02381 810001.

Ross had an intrastromal corneal ring segment in the right eye to improve his vision. He is very pleased with the outcome! Corneal ring segments are small circular implants that are placed with laser guidance within the cornea, flattening and returning the conical cornea to a more normal shape. This results in a reduction in short-sightedness, astigmatism and aberrations, improving the quality of vision.

We ask Ross a few questions below.

1. Tell us about your keratoconus Ross. How and when was the condition diagnosed?

My keratoconus was first realised by myself when I noticed a rapid deterioration in the sight of my right eye. I went to my local optician’s and had my eyes tested. They then referred me to a specialist where it was diagnosed in 2017. Over the course of a year the keratoconus was stable but towards the end of 2018 the condition began to deteriorate quite quickly.

Having realised this I was then referred to have a procedure to stabilise my cornea, by means of a procedure called collagen cross-linking. The procedure was successful and the condition was stabilised. But as for improved vision, I needed a little more help….

2. Why did you consult us at Laser Vision Eye Centre?

After discussions with my consultant Aris it came to light that the Laser Vision Eye Centre would consider me as a strong candidate for having a corneal implant procedure. Further to this I decided to book an appointment to see if this procedure was possible for me. I went in and had an appointment to assess whether I could have it done and thankfully I could. 

3. How did you find the experience with Laser Vision Eye Centre?

Everything was very easy, communication was good and nothing was too much trouble, I was given relevant documentation from research bodies to ensure I made an informed decision, I will stress that there was no pressure to have this done whatsoever.

4. How did you feel on the day of surgery?

On the day of my procedure I was well looked after, the staff who attended to me ensured I knew exactly what was going to happen. To be fair there were very few feelings of nerves, I would say that I was excited to see what they could do for me.

During the procedure all of the nursing staff and technicians were very attentive. The surgeons were very communicative and I knew what was happening every step of the way. The procedure was pain free, relatively quick and I was up and about in no time. I was allowed plenty of time to make sure I was ok, and the nurses went through my medication thoroughly and even gave me a checklist so I could schedule when I was taking the medication.

5. What would advise patients who are interested in treatment?

Anyone who is interested in having this done should, at the very least book an initial consultation to see if they are suitable for the procedure. If you are, then read the documentation to make sure you understand what it’s all about, ask questions and if you are happy, go for it! In my case the results speak for themselves. With regards to cost, personally I believe that for what I paid it was great value for money, after all can you really put a price on your eyesight?

6. Has the procedure achieved your expectations?

I was told that there was a possibility that my eyesight could be improved by up to 50% beforehand, to me this was massive.  I put my glasses back on after the procedure and it was like my vision had turned H.D, it has continued to improve and now I am looking at a new prescription.

From a psychological perspective it has given me a new confidence and I am very much impressed! After a follow up with my consultant Aris there was a massive improvement, this was shown when I took the eye test even without glasses! I am really pleased with the results!

7. What would you advise patients with keratoconus?

If you do suffer from keratoconus, rule number 1, do not rub your eyes!! If you have had the cross-linking procedure, that’s a great start. This however will only stabilise your condition. In order to improve your vision you really need to get in touch with the Laser Vision Eye Centre, as they can help. In my case I would never get 20/20 vision but to enable me to actually reduce the impairment enough to be able to actually get a prescription now is immense!

If you are in the dark about the condition there are online forums with other people who suffer from this condition, as it can be a bit daunting when you are first diagnosed, having other people to talk to does help put your mind at rest. 

About the Author:

Aris Konstantopolous
Aris Konstantopolous is a co-founder and medical director at Laser Vision Eye Centre. Along with David, he personally performs all of our procedures, consultations and assessments.

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