Can I Have LASIK If I Have Keratoconus?

LASIK has a good track record treating common visual deficits.  But is it a viable option for patients with keratoconus?

Most people who are diagnosed with keratoconus are primarily concerned with two things:

  1. Preventing further vision loss
  2. Exploring options to improve vision
Amplify EyeCare Manhattan

What is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK is a popular surgical procedure where the cornea is reshaped, leading to dramatic improvements in eyesight. Many people with previously impaired visual deficits now see perfectly thanks to LASIK. 

LASIK Is Unsuitable For Keratoconus

Despite the efficacy of laser treatments for improving general visual acuity, they are not viable options for treating keratoconus. Understanding why this is so requires a look at the cause of visual impairment in this ocular disorder.

Anatomy of a Cornea: Why LASIK is Not an Option

The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye responsible for focusing light rays on the retina.  Normal shaped eyes are spherical which enables the corneas to properly direct light on the retina. In many common visual deficits, curvatures in the eye misdirect these light rays.

With keratoconus, corneal alteration is more severe than the mere curvature found in most vision conditions. In this complication, the corneas gradually bulge outward into a conical shape, distorting light rays and causing vision impairment. With LASIK and similar interventions, the procedure would likely do more harm, by weakening an already damaged cornea.

Anatomy of a Cornea: Why LASIK is Not an Option
Anatomy of a Cornea: Why LASIK is Not an Option

Anatomy of a Cornea: Why LASIK is Not an Option

Surgical interventions vary depending on the severity. Typically, early-onset complications can be treated with standard contact lenses and glasses. As the condition worsens, more advanced interventions may be considered. 

Often the types of contact lenses that will be suitable changes as the condition advances. While soft-lenses may be suitable initially, as the cornea degenerates, gas permeable types and scleral lenses may become necessary. 

Scleral contact lenses are considered the best gas permeable options today for keratoconus patients. For most patients they offer superior comfort and effectiveness. They are uniquely designed to rest on the sclera of the eye rather than the cornea.

In instances where the disorder has advanced, certain procedures may no longer be viable options. One example of this is collagen cross-linking, a surgical procedure which prevents the cornea from changing shape. However, if the corneal alteration has advanced to a certain point, the procedure may no longer be effective. This is why it is critical to schedule routine ocular exams.  An optometrist can detect the early onset of ocular disorders and initiate treatment. Common interventions include:

  • Cross-linking procedure:  A surgical procedure where the eye is treated with riboflavin drops and ultraviolet light, in order to strengthen the eye’s collagen fibers.
  • Corneal transplant: In this surgery, diseased corneal tissue is replaced with a donor’s healthy tissue. Sometimes the scarring following surgery necessitates the use of scleral contact lenses.
  • INTACS: In this procedure, inserts are placed in the eye to flatten the cornea.  Often contact lenses are still required post surgery to correct vision.
Dr. Wernick cartoon

Lasik Is Not Suitable For Keratoconus

While laser treatments successfully correct many visual deficits, they aren't suitable for keratoconus which involves weakened corneas. In such instances, the procedure will do more damage.

Although there is no cure for keratoconus, there are many excellent medical interventions to retain and improve vision. Speak with your optometrist to find out what medical options are available. 

If you have not had a comprehensive eye exam, consider scheduling one. They are essential for monitoring ocular health and detecting ocular disorders.  Contact our office to find out more.

Testimonials


  • At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


    Cynthia Norton

  • Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


    Steve Fay

  • Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


    Mary K.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Peter G.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Kinkie F.

Blog

smart-contact-lens-fingertip-new-tech

Contacts for Keratoconus

Contact lenses can be used for improving your vision and comfort if you have keratoconus. But before we get into […]

Read More
eye-problems-such-as-near-sighted

Why are your eyes tired, dry, or vision blurry after hours on a phone or computer? Understanding the impact of digital screen time on how we blink

Digital devices affect our blinking rate and can lead to digital eye strain. In the United States, nearly 70 percent […]

Read More
jack-b-oWUeGozstgs-unsplash

Keratoconus

Keratoconus occurs in approximately one in 2,000 individuals and affects people of all races equally. What is keratoconus? It is […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Manhattan Logo

Working Hours

Tuesday - Thursday
9:30am–5pm

Friday
9:30am–3pm

Saturday
9:30am–2pm

Sunday
Closed

Location
235 East 67th Street, Suite 201, New York, New York, United States, 10065
Fax
(212) 759-2220
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
Cancellation Policy
For Patients
appointment
Call Us
Referrals
Assessments
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram