Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease, which causes a thinning of the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. As the disease progresses, the quality of one’s vision deteriorates and contact lenses or glasses no longer become a satisfactory solution for most people. For many, an invasive corneal transplant was the only option. Intacs may provide an effective option for keratoconus patients to improve one’s vision prior to considering a cornea transplant. Intacs corneal implants are approved by the FDA for keratoconus under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE). The Intacs procedure is far less invasive than a corneal transplant or many other surgical procedures of the eye. Each surgeon has also undergone a rigorous training program specific to Intacs for treating patients with keratoconus.
Before the Procedure
Typically, your ophthalmologist, possibly working in tandem with your optometrist will have you undergo a thorough eye examination. Your examination will include a variety of standard ophthalmic tests for this type of procedure, as well as general medical tests and a review of your specific medical history.
The Procedure for Intacs
Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye, which is held open throughout the procedure to prevent blinking.
Step 1: A single, small incision is made in the surface of the cornea.
Step 2: The eye is prepared for Intacs placement.
To stabilize your eye and ensure proper alignment of the Intacs inserts, the centering guide is placed on the surface of your eye. During this time, inner layers of the cornea are gently separated in a narrow circular area to allow for Intacs placement.
Step 3: The Intacs inserts are gently placed. After the second Intacs insert is placed, the small opening in the cornea is closed.
Step 4: The procedure is completed.
The placement of Intacs inserts remodel and reinforce your cornea, eliminating some or all of the irregularities caused by keratoconus in order to provide you with improved vision. Follow-up visits will be required to monitor the healing process and evaluate the visual benefits of the procedure. Even after a successful procedure, glasses or contacts are usually necessary to provide you with good vision. As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks, including infection. Some patients experience visual symptoms including difficulty with night vision, glare, halos, blurry and fluctuating vision.
For more information on Intacs® for keratoconus, please visit www.intacsforkeratoconus.com (link is external).