Some eyecare professionals took a new look at keratoconus when they started counseling patients about laser vision correction. Patients interested in getting rid of their glasses or contacts were screened for LASIK. Upon testing, patients would learn, rather than astigmatism they thought LASIK would correct, they actually had keratoconus, a progressive eye disease. Eye doctors noted that the number of patients who had KC, but were undiagnosed and untreated, seemed to be higher than previously estimated.
Reliable technology that provides useful information to confirm a diagnosis of KC became essential. The development of new equipment that helps professionals understand the mechanism of keratoconus continues today.
If you have a few minutes and want to learn more about how doctors think about the challenge of managing keratoconus, watch this video featuring three experts discussing the Oculus Pentacam (a tomography machine found in many doctors’ offices).
Drs. Barry Eiden, OD of Chicago, Clark Chang, OD of New Jersey, and Andrew Morgenstern, OD of Maryland, share how machines taking new types of measurements – including the back of the cornea – give eye doctors more information to track corneal changes in their patients.
Notable is Dr. Eiden’s recognition that since crosslinking, an effective treatment to slow or halt KC progression is now available, early detection is critical. He favors catching and treating KC “subclinically” – before symptoms are evident and before visual performance is affected. Eiden gets a baseline Pentacam reading on at-risk patients as young as 8 years old and regularly uses the technology to reevaluate patients and stage the progression of disease.
NKCF is grateful that companies like Oculus and groups like the International Keratoconus Academy of Eyecare Professionals are pushing for a standard of care that includes diagnosis and treatment at the earliest possible stages of KC. No adult should have to learn that their long-time poor vision is not the result of a refractive error, but a treatable corneal disease.