The cornea is responsible for refracting light that enters the eye and must be clear for good vision. There are numerous indications for corneal surgery and a variety of different procedures available. If corneal surgery is necessary, our ophthalmologists at VisionFirst will diagnose and guide you through this treatment process.
Corneal transplantation involves removing the diseased portion of the cornea and replacing it with donor tissue. Both partial and full thickness corneal procedures are available depending on your condition.
A full-thickness corneal transplant is commonly referred to as a penetrating keratoplasty (PKP). It is performed when the entire cornea is affected by diseases such as a full thickness corneal scar or advanced keratoconus.
Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) replaces the diseased anterior portion or front of the cornea with healthy donor tissue. This procedure is useful in the treatment of keratoconus and corneal scars. Recovery from ALK is often more rapid than full thickness corneal transplantation.
Endothelial keratoplasty (EK or DSAEK) is used to treat abnormalities involving the posterior or back of the cornea such as fuchs dystrophy or bullous keratopathy. Endothelial keratoplasty typically has a more rapid healing time and better visual outcome compared to full thickness corneal transplantation.
Intacs® corneal implants are indicated for the treatment of patients with keratoconus who have experienced a progressive decline in their vision and are no longer able to see well using their glasses or contact lenses. Intacs® are used to reshape or flatten the cornea, with the goal of improving functional vision and delaying the need for corneal transplantation, which is an invasive surgery with a prolonged healing time.
During this in-office procedure, Dr. Hebson will use advanced iFS laser technology to create a pocket or tunnel within the peripheral cornea. Depending on the shape of your cornea, one or two Intacs® will then be inserted into this tunnel, and the procedure is finished. Unlike corneal transplantation, there is no tissue removal and the procedure is reversible.
Intacs® are made of PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) which is a medical grade plastic and the same material that has been used for intraocular lenses implantation during cataract surgery for more than 40 years. This material has been proven safe and well tolerated; as a result, it can remain within the cornea permanently.
Recovery after Intacs® is fairly rapid, with most patients being able to return to work 1-3 days after the surgery. You will be prescribed topical medications for approximately 2 weeks. Visual recovery is often rapid, but vision can fluctuate for several weeks after surgery as the cornea heals.
If you have keratoconus and are unable to see well using your glasses or contact lens, contact VisionFirst to see if you are a candidate for corneal Intacs®.
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