Keratoconus is a disease which causes a deformity of the cornea due to bulging and thinning, leading to the creation of a cone, and bringing about deteriorating eyesight and the need for glasses, contact lenses, or surgical intervention to improve visual acuity. The disease impairs the patients’ quality of life, meaning driving and reading ability and night vision.
“The cause of the disease is not known. There are several different risk factors, for example – family background, Middle Eastern ethnic origin, allergies, and rubbing the eyes. The progress of the disease can be identified by the patient’s complaints of deterioration in vision and/ or a frequent need to change eyeglasses, due to a rise in shortsightedness and astigmatism. Most of those suffering from keratoconus require glasses or special contact lenses to correct their vision sufficiently. In more serious cases, cornea transplants are required,” notes Dr. Daniel Wasserman – cornea specialist and senior surgeon, head of the Cornea Clinic at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center Ophthalmology Department.
In recent years a unique machine intended to slow down the progress of the disease has been developed – crosslinking. Treatment with this instrument is carried out in cases where the cornea protrudes more over time. The machine helps strengthen the corneal skeleton, using special drops and ultraviolet light, which bring about changes in the collagen fibers, so that it will be stronger and flatter and aid in stopping the progress of the disease. Likewise, the machine can also be used in cases of corneal infections.
Dr. Rana Hanna, senior physician in the Ophthalmology Department at Hillel Yaffe, adds: “It is important to note that the treatment does not cure the disease, but rather halts its progress, and also that there is still a need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. At Hillel Yaffe, we carry out exact testing before surgery which includes mapping of the cornea and an examination by qualified optometrists, some of who have undergone special training to treat keratoconus, to provide the correct surgical treatment for each patient, and solutions for optimal vision correction after the surgery.”
To schedule an appointment at the Ophthalmology Clinic at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, please call *6742.