Keratoconus can be a progressive condition, in which the cornea produces very irregular astigmatism, becomes thin, and may create scarring. If Keratoconus patients cannot bear gas permeable contact lenses, then the answer is a corneal transplant. Keratoconus also is a complete contraindication to any laser refractive surgery. However, reports from numerous international centers claim outstanding results of stabilizing the disease through corneal collagen cross-linking. In this procedure, Riboflavin is allowed to penetrate the cornea and utilizing UV light directed at the cornea the collagen bonds fortify, resulting in a more steady cornea.
Multiple surgeons outside the U.S. utilize corneal cross-linking as their routine treatment for Keratoconus and some are performing laser refractive surgery in conjunction with corneal cross-linking on these patients. Despite the success of this procedure, the FDA has not approved this process in the U.S. Dr. Ashraf, medical director of the Atlanta Vision Institute, has been utilizing this technology for the past two years at his Dubai office. He states: “We’ve had excellent results with this procedure with minimal side effects and it is unfortunate that this procedure is not available for our United States patients.” He also adds that several of his United States patients have flown to Dubai to seek treatment.
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