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Corneal Inserts & Corneal Transplants

Keratoconus Treatment in Washington, DC

Our eye doctors in Washington, DC, stay up-to-date with cutting-edge treatments for ocular conditions, including for keratoconus. This condition is characterized by an irregular cornea – the clear, front part of your eye. A variety of treatments for keratoconus are available, depending largely upon how far your condition has progressed. We will assess your eyes to determine the most suitable and effective course of action, such as corneal inserts and corneal transplants.

Understanding Keratoconus

This eye condition refers to an abnormal curvature of the cornea, which bulges in a steep cone shape instead of a smoothly rounded shape. At the beginning, keratoconus can generally be managed with contact lenses. Yet, as the condition progresses, vision deteriorates significantly and wearing contact lenses becomes difficult. At this point, Intacs corneal inserts may be a good solution. Once keratoconus worsens even further, corneal transplants may be the only viable treatment.

Corneal Inserts – Intacs

Intacs is the brand name for a small plastic insert approved by the FDA treat keratoconus. These corneal inserts are placed just beneath the surface of your eye, thereby reshaping the cornea. Intacs flatten the cornea and enable light rays to enter the eye properly for clear vision. These corneal inserts are available in different thicknesses, and our Washington, DC, eye doctors will evaluate your eyes your candidacy for Intacs and what type you need.

The procedure for corneal inserts is safe, minimally invasive and takes about 20 minutes to perform. With Intacs, many patients can postpone their need for a corneal transplant for a very long time. If these corneal inserts do not improve vision adequately, they can also be removed.

Corneal Transplants

When corneal inserts cannot provide effective keratoconus treatment, corneal transplants are generally the next last-resort step that will be recommended. A few types of corneal transplants are performed, and your Washington, DC, eye doctors will evaluate your condition thoroughly to make a personalized recommendation.

Full Thickness Corneal Transplants

If damage has occurred to both your inner and frontal corneal layers, you may need a full corneal transplant, also called a penetrating keratoplasty (PK). During this surgical procedure, the unhealthy cornea is removed completely and a clear donor cornea is put in its place. Restoration of full vision could take up to a year.

Partial Thickness Corneal Transplant

When the inner corneal layers are still healthy and only the front and middle layers suffered damage, it may be possible to only remove those layers. With this partial procedure, the endothelial layer (in the back) stays in place.

Endothelial Keratoplasty

The innermost corneal layer is called the endothelium. When damage occurs to this part, the cornea will swell and prevent sharp vision. Endothelial keratoplasty replaces just this back layer with healthy tissue from a donor cornea. Because the majority of your cornea is not removed or touched, this procedure is associated with a much lower risk of your body rejecting the donor tissue.

If you have keratoconus, we can help restore your crisp and comfortable vision. Book an appointment for an eye exam with our Washington, DC, eye doctors, to determine your candidacy for treatment with corneal inserts or corneal implants.

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