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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Keratoconus


Other Names for this Disease
  • Noninflammatory corneal thining
  • KC
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Treatment

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How is keratoconus treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the keratoconus symptoms and may include: :[1][2]
  • Eyeglasses and contact lens: During early stages, vision can be corrected with eyeglasses. As the condition progresses, rigid contacts may need to be worn so that light entering the eye is refracted evenly and vision is not distorted. You should also refrain from rubbing your eyes, as this can aggravate the thin corneal tissue and make symptoms worse. 
  • Laser: Laser can improve corneal abrasions and contact lens tolerance.
  • Implants: Keratoconus can also be treated with Intacs, which are small curved implantable corneal devices that can reshape the cornea. Intacs are FDA approved and can help flatten the steep cornea found in keratoconus. 
  • Collagen: Collagen cross-linking is a new treatment that uses a special laser and eyedrops to promote “cross-linking” or strengthening of the collagen fibers that make up the cornea. This treatment may flatten or stiffen the cornea, preventing further protrusion. 
  • Corneal transplant: When good vision is no longer possible with other treatments, a corneal transplant may be recommended. This surgery is only necessary in about 10 percent to 20 percent of patients with keratoconus. In a corneal transplant, the diseased cornea is removed and replaced with a healthy donor cornea. A transplanted cornea heals slowly. It can take up to a year or more to recover good vision after corneal transplantation. Usually contact lenses are needed afterwards. 
  • Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty: With this procedure, only the front and middle layers of the cornea are transplanted. The benefits of this transplant over the “full” cornea transplant is a much faster healing period and less risk of rejection.
Last updated: 3/28/2016

References
  1. How is keratoconus treated?. WebMD. 2015; http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eye-health-keratoconus?page=2#3.
  2. Keratoconus treatment. American Academy of Ophthalmology. 2015; http://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/keratoconus-treatment.


GARD Video Tutorial

  • Finding Treatment Information - A video developed by GARD Information Specialists that explains how you can find information about treatment for a rare disease.

    Finding Treatment Information

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • ClinicalTrials.gov lists trials that are studying or have studied Keratoconus. Click on the link to go to ClinicalTrials.gov to read descriptions of these studies.

Medical Products

The medication(s) listed in the table(s) below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of this condition. The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development designates "orphan products" for those that treat rare diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 Americans. The table(s) below may not be an exhaustive list of drugs or products used to treat this condition. There may be other products available that are not considered orphan products. To search for all FDA approved drugs, visit Drugs@FDA. You can find orphan products used to treat other conditions by searching the Orphan Drug Product Designation database.


Generic Name riboflavin ophthalmic solution & ultraviolet A
Trade Name
(Manufacturer Name)
Accelerated Cross-Linking procedure
(Avedro, Inc.)
Indication
The FDA has approved this product to be used in this manner.
Treatment of progressive keratoconus.
More Information about this product Drug Information Portal

Other Names for this Disease
  • Noninflammatory corneal thining
  • KC
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.