MIAMI. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s a condition that affects your vision and up until now major surgery was the only way to treat it. A new procedure is saving people’s sight.
“I’ve always had perfect vision,” said Jesus De Barros.
De Barros was driving to work when his world suddenly changed.
De Barros told Ivanhoe, “I looked to my right and I see all the traffic signs are blurry and I started freaking out.”
His right eye wouldn’t focus.
“So in order to see something it has to be really close up to the eye,” said De Barros.
De Barros was finally diagnosed with keratoconus.
“Kerato means cornea, conus means cone,” explained Inna Ozerov, M.D., a surgical ophthalmologist at Miami Eye Institute. (Read Full Interview)
Dr. Ozerov said one in 2,000 people in the United States have this condition.
“The clear part of the eye, the dome-shaped structure of the eye, the cornea, starts to lose its shape and become deformed,” explained Dr. Ozerov.
That causes serious vision problems. As the cornea becomes thinner, vision gets worse.
Dr. Ozerov said, “Patients ended up needing corneal transplant surgery because that was the only option that was available to them.”
Until now. The FDA recently approved a procedure called collagen cross-linking.
“I essentially remove the top layer of the cornea,” detailed Dr. Ozerov.
Then she uses a liquid form of Vitamin B and a dose of ultraviolet light to stiffen the cornea.
“Therefore it doesn’t allow the cornea to deform further,” said Dr. Ozerov. “In some patients it can even improve their vision.”
The recovery is much faster. A few days after the procedure, De Barros was back to work and driving.
“Eyesight is pretty much what I had before which is great,” said De Barros.
Doctors say the earlier this condition is caught the better the chance treatment can help. So screening is critical. For more information on this condition and procedure log onto www.miamieyesurgeon.com.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath Supervising Producer; Janna Ross, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Judy Reich, Videographer.
MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS – RESEARCH SUMMARY
TOPIC: CORNEA CORRECTION
REPORT: MB #4241
BACKGROUND: Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that causes distorted vision. As it progresses, nearsightedness and irregular astigmatism develop which result in distorted and blurred vision. Glare and light sensitivity also may occur. This all happens when the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. There is new research that suggests the weakening of the corneal tissue that leads to keratoconus may be due to an imbalance of enzymes within the cornea. This imbalance makes the cornea more susceptible to oxidative damage from compounds called free radicals, causing it to weaken and bulge forward. Risk factors include a genetic predisposition, overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, excessive eye rubbing, a history of poorly fitted contact lenses, and chronic eye irritation. If the Keratoconus is mild, glasses or soft contact lenses may help the problem. Typically this disease progresses though, and as the cornea thins and becomes increasingly more irregular in shape, glasses and contact lenses will not provide enough vision correction. Some other treatments include Corneal cross-linking (CXL), custom soft contact lenses, gas permeable contact lenses, “piggybacking” contact lenses, hybrid contact lenses, scleral and semi-scleral lenses, intacs, topography-guided conductive keratoplasty, and corneal transplant.
TREATMENT: Corneal cross-linking (CXL) is a new in-office procedure that strengthens the cornea if it has been weakened by Keratoconus or other corneal disease. The minimally invasive CXL procedure involves applying liquid riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the surface of the eye, followed by treatment with a controlled application of ultraviolet light. CXL received FDA approval in April of 2016 and is the first corneal collagen cross-linking system to gain the required regulatory approval to be performed by eye doctors in the U.S. The best candidates for CXL are those with corneas that have not yet become too irregular in shape. Usually CXL can stabilize and even improve the shape of the cornea if applied early enough. The procedure only takes 60 to 90 minutes typically and afterwards, in some cases, a bandage contact lens will be placed. Topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed. (Source: http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/corneal-crosslinking.htm)
FOR DOCTORS: Doctors learning this treatment should develop relationships with other doctors who can perform CXL, and be prepared to make referrals. Know the law in your own state and whether you can undertake the procedure associated with the new drugs and device.(Source: http://www.aoa.org/news/clinical-eye-care/fda-approves-first-corneal-cross-linking-system-for-treatment?sso=y)
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
Miami Eye Institute
If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org