How to Treat Corneal Ectasia
Poor eyesight is a nightmare for every patient. It’s one of the unfortunate conditions you’d never wish for. Many people who experience refractive errors prefer a corrective surgery known as LASIK. If successful, patients who undergo the LASIK procedure might never use glasses again. Such patients get to wake up and see their alarm clocks without the help of contact glasses.
Unfortunately, not all LASIK procedures end well. Some patients who undergo the LASIK procedure lose their vision just as soon as they start enjoying the freedom of seeing without glasses. The clear vision that happened for a short time soon turns into a blur, and at times, double vision. You begin to experience unexplained shadows and strain in the eyes.
One of the significant post-LASIK surgery effects is Corneal Ectasia. Cornel Ectasia is a severe condition that causes blurred vision and worsens quickly.
What is Corneal Ectasia?
Corneal Ectasia is a condition that occurs when the cornea becomes too thin. The most common causes are post-LASIK and post-PRK. During refractive surgeries, doctors might unknowingly remove too much corneal tissue. When the cornea becomes too thin, the tissue weakens and protrudes under normal eye pressure.
The cornea, a curved layer of transparent tissue in your eyes, controls the light entering your eyes and directs it to the retina. If the cornea doesn’t function properly, you cannot see correctly.
What are the Causes of Corneal Ectasia?
As mentioned earlier, there is post-LASIK and post-PRK Corneal Ectasia. When you undergo refractive surgery, the doctors may accidentally remove excess corneal tissue from your cornea. You already know that you can see clearly because the cornea can control the light entering the eye and direct it to the retina.
LASIK procedure uses a special laser to resize the cornea. Sometimes too much cornea is removed, leading to a Cornea Ectasia condition.
Another common cause of Corneal Ectasia is Keratoconus. Keratoconus happens when the corneal collagen fibers gradually weaken. The cornea, as a result, loses its original shape and assumes a con-like form.
Contact lenses are also notorious for causing Corneal Ectasia. Not all medical doctors can prescribe the right contact glasses. Unfortunately, many people only care a little about the qualifications of the person fitting their contact glasses.
Unknown to them, any slight mistake with the contact glasses can interfere with the shape of the cornea.
Other factors that increase your chances of getting Corneal Ectasia include:
- Old Age. This condition is more prevalent in people who are past the age of 40, especially men.
- Pre-existing Congenital Diseases. People who have existing congenital diseases are at higher risk of contracting Corneal Ectasia.
- Pre-existing Inflammatory Diseases. Patients with inflammatory diseases like the thyroid eye are more likely to experience Corneal Ectasia.
- Pre-existing Allergic Disorders. Corneal Ectasia may knock on your door anytime if you are allergic to certain things like the cold.
Symptoms of Cornea Ectasia
Cornea Ectasia manifests itself in stages. The condition might not be serious in young people but worsens gradually as the patient approaches 40. One of the most common signs of Corneal Ectasia is irregular refraction. The cornea doesn’t send direct light to the retina as it should; hence you begin to experience blurry vision.
Other signs include;
- Cases of ghosting. At times, shadows may compromise your vision.
- Cornea Ectasia patients struggle to see clearly. You may even strain to see even objects near you.
- Recurrent headaches
- Double vision and eye strain
Most of these signs might not show until several months or a year after your LASIK surgery. It is advisable to always be on the lookout and seek medical advice whenever necessary.
How do you treat Cornea Ectasia?
You will need to visit an eye specialist who will check for any signs and symptoms of Cornea Ectasia. Your doctor may ask the following questions to ascertain whether you are at risk of contracting Corneal Ectasia.
- They will ask you when the symptoms first appeared and whether they worsened.
- The doctors would want to know whether you have had any pre-existing visual impairment.
- If you had earlier been treated for corneal complications and given contact lenses.
- They will also want to know if there is any history of Corneal Ectasia abnormalities within your family.
Once they find out the above, the doctors will begin to recommend treatment depending on the severity of your condition. Mild cases of Corneal Ectasia can be corrected by getting the proper eyeglass prescription.
Here are the treatment options:
Intacs are specifically designed to be placed into the cornea. They reduce the size and irregularity of the cornea. They also flatten the cornea to reduce the bulging. Once inserted, you can comfortably wear your contact glasses.
Intacs do not prevent the Corneal Ectasia condition from developing.
Severe cases of Corneal Ectasia may require a corneal transplant. You will need a cornea donor to make the procedure successful. The doctors remove most of the cornea during the procedure and leave a thin membrane.
There are two types of cornea transplants.
- Penetrating Keratoplasty: It involves replacing the whole cornea.
- Lamellar Keratoplasty: It’s a procedure that replaces the front and middle layers of the cornea.
The procedure aims to strengthen the cornea and stop the advancement of keratoconus. You can also use contact lenses after this procedure. Cross-linking reduces the irregularity of the cornea.
Before this procedure, you must discuss it with your doctor and know the risk factors involved.
Corneal cross-linking is less invasive than corneal transplant, which is more intrusive and takes quite a short time. It majorly involves eye drops and mild brushing off of the cornea.
In mild cases of Corneal Ectasia, you can use eyeglasses to improve and stabilize your vision. The doctors may also prescribe contact glasses, depending on the specific diagnosis.
For example, scleral lenses will improve your vision by clearing the cornea and ensuring enough light goes into the retina.
The earlier you notice the symptoms of Corneal Ectasia, the easier it is to manage it. Ectasia progresses with age and may become more severe in your twilight years. Consider the several management and treatment methods we have discussed to reduce the need for invasive transplants.