KeratoconusWhat is Keratoconus? 

Keratoconus often referred to as ‘KC’, is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the typically round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and weakens, causing the development of a cone-like bulge and optical irregularity of the cornea.

This causes ‘static’ in your vision and can result in significant visual impairment. Keratoconus can result in significant vision loss and may lead to corneal transplant in severe cases.

Cornea related issues for our patients in Atlanta and the surrounding areas is a vital concern for us at Thomas Eye Group. Our Atlanta based cornea specialist at Thomas Eye Group is David Sackel, M.D.


Keratoconus typically first appears in individuals who are in their late teens or early twenties, and may progress for 10-20 years, and then slow or stabilize. Each eye may be affected differently. In the early stages of keratoconus, people might experience: 

  • Slight blurring of vision 
  • Distortion of vision 
  • Increased sensitivity to light 

The cornea is responsible for focusing most of the light that comes into the eye. Therefore, abnormalities of the cornea, such as keratoconus, can have a major impact on how an individual sees the world, making simple tasks such as driving a car or reading a book very difficult.

Keratoconus Treatment Options:

The treatment approach to keratoconus generally follows an orderly progression from glasses to contact lenses to corneal transplantation. A new therapeutic treatment option, Corneal Cross-Linking, is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure giving patients with keratoconus the first-ever therapeutic option.

Glasses and Contact Lenses

A gas permeable contact lens is the most highly effective way to manage keratoconus and 90% of all cases can be managed this way indefinitely. The use of gas permeable contact lenses has been the mainstay of the optical management of keratoconus.

These lenses, manufactured in a large variety of unique designs, provide a regular surface over the cornea to neutralize the distortion brought on by the irregular cornea. No one design is best for every type of keratoconus.

Since each lens design has its own unique characteristics, the practitioner needs to carefully evaluate the needs of the individual and find the lens that offers the best combination of visual acuity, comfort, and corneal health. Fitting contact lenses for eyes with keratoconus is by no means simple. Numerous lenses are often fit, and it can take a great deal of time. If the cornea becomes too scarred or painful, a corneal transplant may be necessary.

Corneal Cross-Linking

Cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that combines the use of UVA light and riboflavin eye drops to add stiffness to corneas which have been weakened by disease or refractive surgery. Cross-linking, which has been performed in Europe since 2003, is considered the standard of care around the world for keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery. Corneal Cross-Linking:

  • Creates new corneal collagen cross-links 
  • Results in a shortening and thickening of the collagen fibrils 
  • Leads to the stiffening of the cornea

Is Cross-Linking Right for Me?

Patients over the age of 14 who have been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus or corneal ectasia following refractive surgery should ask their doctor about corneal cross-linking. 

Cornea Specialist, David J. Sackel, M.D., of Thomas Eye Group is proud to offer patients in our practice the first and only therapeutic products for corneal cross-linking which have been FDA approved to treat progressive keratoconus. This approval offers an effective treatment for patients who, until recently, had no therapeutic options to limit the progression of this sight-threatening disease.

To find out if Corneal Cross-Linking is the right Keratoconus treatment option for you, call our office to schedule a consultation. (678-892-2020)

Corneal Transplant

As the cornea steepens and becomes more irregular, glasses are no longer capable of providing adequate visual improvement. Corneal transplant surgery in Atlanta is indicated when a patient cannot wear contact lenses for an acceptable period of time or when the vision, even with contacts, is unsatisfactory.

To schedule an appointment to learn more about Keratoconus and which treatment option is right for you, contact us. 
Schedule a Specialty Contact Lens Fittings Click Here to Meet Dr. Sackel Watch our Corneal Cross-Linking Webinar

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