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How Can I Find a Keratoconus Specialist?

If you’ve just been diagnosed with keratoconus or have a family history, you’ll want to find the best keratoconus specialist near you for your ongoing treatment.

Keratoconus Develops Rapidly

One of the differences between keratoconus and other eye diseases is how quickly it can progress. With an eye disease that changes often, it is important to find an eye doctor you feel comfortable with. Keratoconus requires an ongoing relationship with frequent appointments for best management.

An optometrist that specializes in diagnosing keratoconus and the treatment of keratoconus will often have special equipment allowing them to recognize keratoconus sooner than other optometry clinics.

Sometimes Develops in Families

While it is not known exactly what causes keratoconus, one factor is that it can sometimes be hereditary. If your family has a history of keratoconus, it is recommended to find an eye doctor near you that specializes in keratoconus for early detection. Keratoconus can start developing during the teenage years.

Treating Keratoconus

Treatment options for keratoconus may include eyeglasses or contact lenses, custom scleral contact lenses or custom rigid gas permeable lenses, Intacs, corneal collagen cross linking, and eye surgery or a cornea transplant.

In the early stages, patients are often fitted for glasses or contact lenses. The prescription may change often as the disease progresses.

Custom scleral contact lenses are often prescribed as they can be more comfortable for patients with keratoconus as they vault over the cornea of the eye. Patients with keratoconus have a cone-shaped cornea which may make it difficult to wear soft contact lenses. It can be helpful if the optometrist managing your keratoconus is also able to fit you for custom scleral contact lenses. Many patients that suffer from corneal eye diseases will find custom scleral contact lenses a good option.

If Intacs, corneal crosslinking, and/or cornea surgery or corneal transplants is recommended, your eye doctor will refer you to an ophthalmologist who specializes in the surgical treatment of keratoconus. Together, both eye doctors will develop an individualized treatment plan before and after the surgery and will co-manage the treatment of your keratoconus.

Keratoconus Specialists Stay Informed

Having a cornea eye specialist managing your keratoconus means they stay informed of the latest treatments and best practices for managing keratoconus.

When looking for a keratoconus specialist to treat your eye disease, find an eye doctor near you that:

  • You feel comfortable with,
  • Has the necessary equipment for early detection of keratoconus,
  • Can fit you with custom scleral contact lenses,
  • Works with an ophthalmologist specializing in keratoconus surgical options if your corneal disease progresses and requires surgery,
  • Regularly works with other keratoconus patients and specializes in the treatment of keratoconus.

Albuquerque Optometrists that Specialize in Keratoconus

The optometrists at Eyes of New Mexico Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque are specialists in treating keratoconus. If you or your family has a keratoconus diagnosis or you’d like to find out, book an appointment at our Albuquerque clinic. We’ll get started with an eye exam to see where we can improve vision and increase the comfort of your eyes.

10 Advantages of Scleral Contact Lenses

 

A scleral contact lens is a specialty hard contact lens. They are Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) contact lenses that are larger in diameter. Their large diameter allows them to vault over the cornea of the eye providing a more comfortable fit for some patients.

Patients with some eye disorders can find them particularly comfortable. Any patient with an irregular corneal surface can also enjoy scleral lenses. Each custom scleral contact lens patient is provided a custom fit at our clinic to deliver exceptional comfort.

10 Benefits of Custom Scleral Contact Lenses

  1. Due to the vaulting of the lens over the cornea, there is space between the back of the lens and the front of the cornea to hold saline solution to keep the eye moist. This promotes a healing environment for the eye.
  2. RGP lenses, including scleral contact lenses are made from a durable material that will last significantly longer than regular contact lenses.
  3. The larger diameter of the lens creates a firm and stable area reducing the lens from moving around. This maintains consistent steady vision for the wearer.
  4. A wider lens supports contact over a broader area distributing the weight for a more comfortable fit.
  5. Lenses are composed of highly breathable gas permeable material allowing much needed oxygen to reach the eye.
  6. The lens protects the wearer from debris and dust. This is also an ideal solution for those that suffer from allergies.
  7. The wider lens provides increased peripheral vision and reduces glare and sensitivity to light.
  8. Scleral lenses often work when other lenses fail for the patient. Due to their size and custom fit they provide a comfortable option with a healing environment for some eye conditions.
  9. They will hold firmly when patients are playing sports or during other activities so wearers don’t have to worry about them falling out.
  10. Custom scleral contact lenses typically last 2-5 years or longer.

Who Wears Scleral Contact Lenses?

Due to their wide diameter, vaulting over the cornea, and customization, scleral contacts are particularly suited for certain eye conditions:

  • Keratoconus patients can experience clear vision and a comfortable fit due to the vaulting over the cornea that is created with custom scleral contact lenses.
  • People with astigmatism or irregular astigmatism can benefit greatly from wearing scleral lenses. Wearing the lenses can delay or eliminate the need for corneal transplant surgery.
  • Those with Dry Eye Syndrome will find that the ability to hold liquid between the back of the lens and the front of the cornea of notable benefit.
  • Chemical or burn injury patients will find comfort in a completely custom fit for irregular ocular surfaces.
  • After a corneal transplant, patients can continue to see improvement of visual acuity while wearing scleral contact lenses. Scleral contact lenses are ideal after a corneal transplant as the lens won’t touch the surface of the cornea, but rather, will vault over it.
  • Following Lasik surgery or refractive surgery, some patients can use lenses to improve their vision.
  • Anyone with hard to fit eyes or irregular corneas will appreciate that lenses can be custom fit for irregularities and can help with vision correction.

Scleral Contact Lenses Cost

Scleral contact lenses are a custom fit for each patient. This may require a higher upfront cost and more visits to the office to get the fit right. The longevity of the lenses and the comfortable fit will outweigh the cost for most patients as they will not need replacement as often, unless the eye condition changes.

Conclusion

Although most patients find custom scleral contact lenses comfortable, there is an adjustment period to get used to wearing them. Once adjusted, most patients find their lenses to be quite comfortable. The eye care routine is not that different from soft contact lenses.

If you want to find out if you’re a good candidate for custom scleral contact lenses, contact our office to book an appointment. One of our eye doctors that specializes in fitting custom scleral contact lenses will discuss your eye health with you and provide a recommendation.

Do You Have Keratoconus?

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye disease where the cornea of the eye will gradually thin and bulge, shifting into the shape of a cone. It is sometimes referred to as irregular astigmatism. People with keratoconus suffer from poor vision. At Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses, we can diagnose and treat keratoconus.

Who is at Risk?

The disease typically starts in the teenage years or early twenties. Over the next 10 to 20 years, patients diagnosed with keratoconus can expect the disease to get worse. The rate of progression of the disease is not the same in everyone.

There are no known causes of keratoconus, nor is it known why certain people get the disease. Family history, Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, congenital disorders and vigorous eye rubbing are some of the risk factors. If one of your parents had keratoconus, eyes should be checked every year starting at age 10 for the disease.

Inflammation from allergies or asthma can break down the tissue of the cornea and is also a risk. Environmental factors can include excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sign, continuous poorly fitted contact lenses and chronic eye irritation.

What are the Symptoms?

Those that suffer from keratoconus have blurry vision, possibly cloudy vision and may have a sensitivity to light and glare. This may cause difficulty with driving at night. Progressive nearsightedness may also develop.

Symptoms can change as the disease progresses and changes can be sudden or gradual. It can affect one or both eyes. It is important that you don’t rub your eyes. If this is something you’re finding yourself doing, make sure you talk to us.

How We Treat Keratoconus

Optometrists at Eyes of New Mexico are specialists in treating keratoconus. Our optometrists will look for signs of keratoconus during your routine eye health exam. To diagnose it, we will measure the shape of your cornea. In the early stages it may look like any other refractive error like that of blurred vision. It is easier to detect as the disease worsens.

Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque has the latest technology to detect and diagnose this disease sooner. With such a progressive disease, this provides a tremendous advantage to our patients that is not available at all clinics.

Glasses, Custom Scleral Contact Lenses or Custom Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses

Initially, glasses may be prescribed for the treatment of keratoconus. Glasses and the prescription may change often. As the disease advances, your prescription may change to custom scleral contact lenses or custom rigid gas permeable lenses. We will custom-fit you for scleral contact lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses if appropriate for your specific situation.

Corneal Cross-Linking

The only effective treatment that can halt the progression of keratoconus is corneal cross-linking. It is a relatively new procedure and will be performed in the office by our qualified eye doctors. We will use special eye drop medication and ultraviolet light from a special machine to create stronger, more stable corneal tissues. Talk to the doctors at Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses to find out if you’re a good candidate for a corneal collagen cross-linking procedure.

Surgery or Cornea Transplant

Eventually, patients with keratoconus may need surgery or even a cornea transplant. We will be able to guide you through this process and refer you if surgery is needed.

As keratoconus is a progressive disease, monitoring and maintaining your eye health is extremely important. Changes to vision can occur frequently and rapidly and it is important to have a keratoconus specialist near you that you see regularly.

Specialists for Keratoconus

We can diagnose your condition and find the right treatment option for your comfort level and the stage of your progression. Our New Mexico eye doctors are able to help you at any stage of your diagnosis of Keratoconus. If you’ve suffered from an extreme change of vision, have a family history of keratoconus or feel you may be at risk, book an appointment with us in our Albuquerque clinic today.