Defining Keratoconus and What You Can Do About It

August 25th, 2015

Keratoconus is a progressive disease in which the cornea becomes misshaped (cone like shaped) and overtime decreases quality of vision. Though this disease can be disturbing when first explained, there are many treatments to assist in improving your overall vision. In some cases the vision can be restored if the cornea is strengthened and re-shaped.

Understanding that there are several treatments for this disease today can help you have peace of mind.

Keratoconus is often diagnosed in stages. These stages are determined by the progression of the Keratoconus and will also help the eye care professional determine which treatments are best for you. In years past, the treatment options that were initially discussed with glasses or contact lenses and then as the disease progresses doctors would encourage a cornea transplant. Most patients found the option of Keratoconus disturbing.

Today, there are other procedures that can be performed that preserve and improve vision. These treatments are Holcomb C3-R ®, INTACS, or even CK. Some of these procedures can be done in combination with each other to get a better result, improving your vision and providing better comfort in contacts.

Holcomb C3-R® (cornea collagen crosslinking) is an easy non-invasive treatment. Many describe this treatment as a natural vitamin treatment. A proprietary vitamin solution is instilled in the eyes and then activated by a UV light. The Holcomb C3-R ® only takes about 30 minutes to perform. Over the next 4-6 months the cornea continues to strengthen and stabilize your vision.

INTACS are often used in combination with the Holcomb C3-R® treatment. INTACS are tiny crescent moon-like shaped lenses that are placed in the layer of the cornea to provide support and improve your overall vision. The use of INTACS can improve your vision almost immediately and you can make a full recovery from this procedure within 2-8 weeks.

Below are some symptoms of Keratoconus:

 Double Vision
 Frequent Rubbing of Eyes
 Frequent changes in prescriptions
 Sensitivity to Light
 Ghost images
 Sudden Change in vision
 Halos
 Glares around lights

Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler, MD is a renowned eye surgeon specializing in Keratoconus Treatments, and other procedures. He developed alternatives to corneal transplants in 1999. Dr. Brian offers a complimentary record review to determine if these procedures might be right for you. Contact his office to reserve your complimentary records review: 310-594-5210

Watch how Jake’s vision was restored and he avoided the need for a cornea transplant:

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Other Treatment Options for Keratoconus

August 11th, 2015

Dealing with a diagnosis of Keratoconus can be frustrating enough, but determining what treatment options are best and which are available for your stage is even tougher. There are a few types of treatment that may be beneficial to your eyes. In the early stages of Keratoconus often feel a little different than those with a mild astigmatism or nearsightedness. In these early stages, generally glasses and contact lenses help improve the vision in those with mild Keratoconus.

What is so devastating is that many patients do not understand or they are not informed that Keratoconus is a progressive condition, slowly robbing you of your vision. Eventually glasses and contact lenses will not work and then patients are left feeling. Slowly doctors are starting recommend patients seek treatment in the early stages, but sadly patients often are left trying to find out treatments on their own.

Below are some forms of treatment for Keratoconus:

There are several treatment options for Keratoconus. Quite often we struggle with a diagnosis like Keratoconus. In the past a Keratoconus diagnosis meant watching your vision deteriorate and then undergoing a painful cornea transplant. In today’s world there are several new treatments to help those suffering from Keratoconus and avoid a cornea transplant. Below are just a few of the ways Keratoconus is treated today.

INTACS:

INTACS have been successful in improving the vision of those suffering from Keratoconus since 1999. For more than a decade many INTACS procedures have allowed patients to see more clearly and have improved quality of vision and comfort with contact lenses.

INTACS are tiny lenses that are placed in the layers of the cornea to give support to your natural vision. It only takes about 15 minutes per eye to place them and there is little discomfort after the procedure. The INTACS are made of a bio-compatible material that will not break down in the eye and can be easily removed if your prescription needs to be changed or vision improves.

Holcomb C3-R ®:

The Holcomb C3-R ® is a treatment developed to strengthen the fibers of the cornea and stopping the progression of Keratoconus in 2003. The procedure takes about 30 minutes. A proprietary solution made up of Riboflavin and other active ingredients are applied to eyes, then the drops are activated with a special UV light for 30 minutes. Over the next 4-16 weeks the cornea with strengthen and Keratoconus will stabilize.

These two treatment have been extremely useful in the treatment of those with Keratoconus. It has been proven to repair the damage to the cornea and improve the quality of vision for the patient. Overall these modern treatment have improve the prognosis and lives of those diagnosed with Keratoconus.

If you have a recent diagnosis of Keratoconus it doesn’t mean that you will have severe vision loss, in fact many who have Keratoconus have been living full and productive lives with great quality of vision. Ask your eye care professional for more information on the treatment for Keratoconus and seek treatment early to preserve your current vision.

Watch Ian describe the results from Keratoconus treatments on The Doctor’s Daytime Talk Show

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Why are my RGP Lenses so Uncomfortable is There Another Option?

August 4th, 2015

Contact lenses and eye glasses are usually the first treatment option recommended for Keratoconus. However, as Keratoconus progress contacts become very, especially RGP contact lenses (Rigid Gas Permeable lenses).

Increasingly doctors are now recommended Holcomb C3-R® (cornea collagen crosslinking) as the first treatment and contacts as a secondary treatment. Holcomb C3-R® helps to stabilize Keratoconus and will help keep you comfortable in lenses longer.

But, what do you do if your Keratoconus has progressed to the point that even after Holcomb C3-R®, RGP lenses are uncomfortable. There are several other specialty Keratoconus contact lens options.

These options include:

Hybrid Contact Lenses (SynergEyes)

What are Hybrid Lenses? They are a mixture of soft lenses and RGP lenses. They provide you with the comfort of a soft lens but the crisper vision of an RGP. Many report these provide a great edge to contact for all day wear without the harsh edge of the RGP lenses.

Scleral Lenses

What are Scleral Lenses? These are similar to RGP lenses only they are larger in diameter. They almost look like a bowl that you fit over your eye. The advantage is they do not rest on the cornea, so they provide increased comfort. In addition, prior to insertion the lenses are filled with saline, so basically all day your eye is bathed in saline, which can help keep your eyes moist and lessen the concerns about dry/irritated eyes.

RGP, Hybrid lenses, or Scleral contact lenses can provide the best option for improved clarity, comfort, and stability. However, the most important benefit to Keratoconus treatment today is the Holcomb C3-R® which will preserve your vision and stop the deterioration of your vision so you can maintain good vision and comfort in contacts and avoid the painful cornea transplant.

There are many benefits of using specialty Keratoconus contact lenses for the treatment of your Keratoconus. Take the time and get the facts. Ask your eye care professional about contact lenses for your Keratoconus Treatments today!

Watch Michael explain how he is now living life all over again thanks to specialty Keratoconus contact lenses.

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Foods Essential to Your Eye Health

July 21st, 2015

Summer is here and many of us are thinking of ways to stay fit through exercise and healthy eating. We can’t forget that we can improve our vision health by eating better and getting the right amount of vitamins daily as well. There are several foods we eat everyday that can improve your overall eye health.

Listed below are some foods and vitamins that are vital to your eye health:

There are several foods that can help you improve your vision by including them in your daily diet. In addition these foods can assist you in improving your bodies overall function. Take a few minutes to read the list and how they can help improve your vision.

Riboflavin – Vitamin B2

Riboflavin also known as Vitamin B2 provides benefits for your vision but also improves the production of other vitamins which benefit the rest of your body (Vitamin B3- Niacin & Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine). Riboflavin helps the body’s cells produce energy from our intake of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Foods with Riboflavin:

• Spinach
• Mushrooms
• Pasta (Egg noodles)
• Milk
• Cottage Cheese
• Pork
• Fish including (Trout, Squid, Salmon)
• Cuttlefish – Contains highest amount of Riboflavin – (1.3 mg per serving)

EFA – Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids are not just important to your eye health but your body’s overall health because the body doesn’t naturally produce them. Ensuring that they are a part of your diet regularly is important to your body.

There are two types of essential fatty acids:

Omega-3

Omega-3s are found in breast milk and are essential to our early development. Omega-3s also help protect vision from conditions like macular degeneration, and even Ery Eye syndrome. EFAs or essential fatty acids are also known to help drain intraocular fluid which can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and risk of Glaucoma.

Foods- (with Omega-3s)

• Tuna
• Herring
• Sardines
• Salmon

Recommended amounts would be 2 serving per week.

Omega-6

While Omega-6 can’t be produced by our bodies, it is in a lot of the foods we already eat regularly. In fact, most of us get too much Omega-6 so it is not often recommended to eat additional amounts with our daily diet. Of the EFAs, it is recommended that your focus be on Omega-3s.

To see a news segment about foods that are good for the eyes, as well as other helpful summer eye health tips, watch below.

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The Facts about Conductive Keratoplasty

July 14th, 2015

For those suffering from Keratoconus, an eye condition caused by the thinning of the cornea that results in distorted vision and sensitivity to light, finding relief is a top priority. Conductive keratoplasty is a non-invasive, non-laser surgery used to correct eyesight by adjusting the shape of the cornea. However, it is important for individuals to learn more about the procedure so that they are prepared for the road ahead as they seek treatment.

The procedure, also referred to as CK, is used to correct presbyopia, astigmatism, and low hyperopia, but it does not remove tissue from the eye like LASIK surgery. Anesthetic drops are used to numb your eye, and radio frequency energy is applied to the treatment area to adjust the cornea. Both of your eyes can be treated in one visit, and the procedure only takes a few minutes from start to finish. If you have Keratoconus or another eye condition, be sure to talk to your doctor about the benefits of conductive keratoplasty.

The Facts about Conductive Keratoplasty

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How Do I Treat My Dry Eyes?

July 7th, 2015

Have you been suffering from chronic Dry Eye? Maybe you spend a lot of time behind a computer at work, school, or even at home. If your dry eyes have been causing a problem, you’re probably wondering how you can treat them on your own. In some cases you can get temporary relief from Dry Eye symptoms over the counter, but in other cases a prescribed drop or procedure maybe needed.

Below are a few types of treatments for your chronic Dry Eye:

When you are first diagnosed with Dry Eye, your eye care professional will have you try different treatments, depending on the severity of your Dry Eye. Below are a few treatments you may encounter after diagnosis.

Over the counter drops:

These types of drops are found in your pharmacy and provide temporary relief for your dry eyes. They are helpful if you experience an occasional episode or two. If you have chronic Dry Eye it is likely you will have to continue using these drops multiple times a day, while also using other methods.

Prescribed Eye Drops or topical treatments:

If you continue to have difficulties with Dry Eye, your doctor may prescribe some drops for you to use regularly. These drops are often prescribed for those who have continued Dry Eye or have difficulty producing tears. If you have an issue with the lipid glands, topical creams or ointments may be suggested (such as testosterone cream). Prescribed eye drops and creams can often provide better relief than over the counter eye drops.

Lipiflow® Procedure:

For those who have difficulty with chronic Dry Eye related to a lipid deficiency, Lipiflow® may be a great treatment option for you. Lipiflow® is a painless 12-minute outpatient treatment that heats and massages the eye lids and glands that create the lipids. This action loosens and unclogs the glands, allowing lipid to be produced and excreted more effectively. While the procedure is relatively new, it has been extremely effective in providing relief for those who suffer from chronic Dry Eye that previously had no great treatment options.

Watch Jennifer, a Dry Eye sufferer for over 30 years, discuss how she finally found relief:

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Discovering Keratoconus: Symptoms & Treatments

June 23rd, 2015

For those with a family history of Keratoconus you probably already know the severity of the condition; however, if it has been a decade or two you might not be familiar with the newer, more advanced treatment options for Keratoconus.

In the past Keratoconus was mainly treated by using a corneal transplant. Often painful and with long recovery times and complications, they were a necessary but not convenient or desirable procedure. Over the past decades there have been many new treatments developed which cause little to no pain and provide much faster recovery times.

Signs & Symptoms of Keratoconus:

• Frequent Prescription changes
• Frequent eye rubbing
• Blurred vision
• Double vision
• Light sensitivity
• Halos around lights

Treatments for Keratoconus:

Keratoconus is a progressive condition that causes changes thinning and distortion of the cornea. Over time these changes cause distortions in the vision of the patient. There are several new treatments to strengthen and change the shape and of the cornea before the need for a corneal transplant. The treatment options have been extremely effective and reduced the need for corneal transplants to less than 5%.

Treatments:

Holcomb C3-R® Crosslinking System

Holcomb C3-R® is a non-invasive procedure that uses a Riboflavin solution activated by an ultraviolet light to strengthen the collagen fibers of the cornea. This helps to reduce glare and halos in the vision, while also stopping the progression of the Keratoconus.

The Holcomb C3-R® is a only a 30 minute treatment, however it continues to strengthen the cornea for up to 3-6 months after the treatment. Another great aspect is that it can also be performed in combination with other treatments to improve your results even further.

INTACS®

INTACS® are tiny crescent shaped inserts that are placed within the cornea to help change the shape of the cornea. INTACS® can also be used in combination with the Holcomb C3-R® to reduce distortions and increase comfort of glasses and contacts.
Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

CK is a vision correction treatment that uses heat to change the shape of the cornea and reduce astigmatism. When combined with the Holcomb C3-R® Crosslinking System, the CK treatment can effectively reduce astigmatism for a period of several years. Due to the nature of the cornea in Keratoconus patients the effect of CK can diminish with time. Patients may elect to have future CK to reduce astigmatism, if needed.

Watch Brad, a resident in general surgery, talk about his Keratoconus treatments, click below.

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Cataract Treatment When You Have Keratoconus

June 16th, 2015

As we age, natural circumstances can lead to a decrease in our vision or cause other problems with our eyesight. While most people see an eye doctor to get prescription glasses or contact lenses to improve their vision, there has been little in the way of relief for those with Keratoconus. Keratoconus is a vision disorder that happens when the round cornea becomes thin and cone shaped. This condition prevents light that enters the eye from being focused properly, and it can alter vision.

In the past, the only treatment for Keratoconus sufferers was a painful and invasive corneal transplant, but over the last decade new technology has provided improved treatment options. If you have cataracts and Keratoconus, it is important to get the best care possible in order to protect your vision. Treatment options include:

  • Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) – IOLs substitute the eye’s natural lenses that are detached during cataract surgery.
  • Toric IOLs – For cataract patients with astigmatism, Toric IOLs have the potential to improve visual perception like never before.
  • Monofocal IOLs – Monofocal IOLs may have costs partially covered by insurance, and they help vision at night or in low-light settings.
  • Holcomb C3-R® Treatment – By applying a vitamin-rich solution and exposing the eyes to UV light, the cornea can be strengthened to stop the progression of Keratoconus.

Learn more about getting treatment for Keratoconus so you can improve your vision today.

CATARACT TREATMENT WHEN YOU HAVE KERATOCONUS

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Finding Relief with LipiFlow®

June 2nd, 2015

Dealing with Keratoconus is difficult enough, but dry eyes and Keratoconus is a double trouble. For those who have been struggling with chronic dry eyes, LipiFlow® maybe the answer. Most patients have tried the over the counter “Get the Red Out” drops or artificial tears, and while they do relieve the irritation and symptoms of Dry Eye it is usually just a temporary fix. LipiFlow® allows you to have more permanent relief from your Dry Eye condition. Most patients experience relief after the treatment within a week.

The Procedure

The LipiFlow® treatment takes less than 15 minutes and can be performed in the doctor’s office. Disposable activators are placed on the eye lids to warm and gently massage the Meibomian glands on the eyelids. This loosens and releases oils that were clogging the glands, allowing fresh, clean oils to be excreted in the tear layers and protect the eyes.

There are between 30-40 meibum glands located within the eyelids that release certain amounts of oil into the tear fluid to help lubricate the eyes and stop the tears from evaporating. Sometimes these glands get clogged causing Dry Eye. The purpose of the LipiFlow® treatment is to loosen the blockage in the glands and allow them to release the natural flow of oil again.

Determining if you are a Good Candidate for LipiFlow®

The doctor will look for a few things before determining if you’re a good candidate for the treatment. They will look at your medical history, how long you have experienced chronic Dry Eye, how severe your dry eyes have been, and how the dry eye affected your daily activities. They will also have to determine what type you have before suggesting this treatment.They will also check the number of meibum glands are affected or clogged in the eyelids. Before determining if you are a good candidate all these factors must be taken into account. Over 65% of patients with dry eyes simply lack the proper level of oils within their tear fluid.

Benefits of LipiFlow®

Those with chronic Dry Eye understand the benefits of even the slightest relief from chronic dry eyes. Those who have explored most treatments for Dry Eye who still have little relief would most likely benefit from the LipiFlow® treatment. Below are a few additional benefits to consider.

Benefits:

• Little to no pain or discomfort
• Noninvasive procedure
• Quick procedure with quick results
• Unclogs the glands for more natural flow of lipid
• Can drive self to and from appointment – no need for a driver!

Dorys didn’t know what the cause of her excessive tearing was, and it ended up being Dry Eye!
Watch Dorys explain about her story, and how she finally got relief :

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Vision Safety & Staying Active With Keratoconus

May 26th, 2015

For those who are looking to get active this summer , but struggle with Keratoconus on a daily basis, there are several things you can do to protect your vision from getting worse and a few to stay active.

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that changes the shape of your cornea from spherical to cone shaped. This change causes many distortions in your vision. Below are a few tips to help you protect your vision and stay active during the summer months.

Vision Tips & Safety:

Always Wear Sunglasses or Eye Protection When Outside:

This is very important to remember not just in the summer months but all year around. The sun has very harmful rays which not only damage the eyes but can make your eye conditions worse if not protected. Research is showing that UV can increase free radicals which can lead to the cornea collagen breaking down further. It is important to wear sunglass eye wear that covers the sides as well as the front, this will ensure the most protection to your eyes.

Limit the Amount of Time Spent in Direct Sunlight:

If you work outside this may not be a feasible option, however if you don’t have to be in direct sunlight taking breaks throughout the day is a wise option. Some sunlight 20-30 minutes a day provides you the required amount of daily vitamin D, some sunlight is essential to staying healthy but remembering “everything in moderation” is always best.

Pay Attention to your eyes:

This seems like a common sense thing, but we often over look our vision until something goes considerable wrong. If you are noticing that you are squinting more or your contacts are becoming more uncomfortable, make an appointment to see your eye care provider sooner rather than later. If you find your desire to participate in activities is declining due to uncertainty with your vision, make an appointment to see your eye doctor.

It is important to educate ourselves and listen to our bodies when it comes to our health. Often we see the signs but we simply wave it off as being tired, dehydrated, or simply getting old when in fact it can be something much more serious. Don’t overlook signs or symptoms that might suggest your Keratoconus is progressing.

Below are a few signs you should never write off when it comes to your vision care:

• Increased blurred vision
• Frequent squinting
• Sudden eye pain
• Increasing discomfort while wearing contacts
• Increased and Frequent eye rubbing
• Sensitivity to Light
• Decreased night vision

If you see any changes in your vision, you should report it to your eye care professional right away to determine whether you need to be seen.

Watch Dr. Brian’s Summer Eye Health Tips Featured on the News to get yourself ready for an eye safe summer:

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