Fiona Watt Optometrists provide Keratoconic Lenses in Wimbledon. Keratoconus is a progressive non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round dome-shape cornea progressively becomes thinner and stepper causing a cone-like bulge to develop. This impairs the ability of the eye to focus properly and potentially causing poor vision. Keratoconus typically commences at puberty and progresses to the mid-thirties at which time progression slows and often stops.
Between age 12 and 35 it can arrest or progress at any time. One cannot predict how fast or slow it well progress. Spectacles may initially be prescribed but does not always give the best form of correction. Specialised contact lenses are the best mode of treatment for keratoconus.
They may not stabilise progression but definitely give a clear focus of vision. This can cause distorted and blurry vision, as the light rays are no longer focused into your eyes the way they should be. It can cause nearsightedness and irregular astigmatism.
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Specialised contact lenses are the best mode of treatment for keratoconus and improve vision. They may not stabilise progression but definitely give a clear focus of vision.
At our practice we are able to create a 3D map of the entire corneal surface using a corneal topographer. The data obtained is viewed and analysed giving accurate measurements used to make bespoke keratoconus RGP lenses. The Corneal Topographer is also used in consecutive appointments to monitor treatments.
If you have Keratoconus, our optometrist will advise you on the best form of correction for your eyes or refer you for specialist treatment.
Keratoconic Lenses Wimbledon – FAQs
As the cornea becomes more irregular in shape, it causes progressive short sightedness and irregular astigmatism to develop, creating additional problems with distorted and blurred vision. Glare and light sensitivity also commonly occur with keratoconus.
A person with keratoconus often experiences changes in their eye prescriptions every time they visit to the opticians or optometrists.
New research suggests the weakening of the corneal tissue that leads to keratoconus may be due to an imbalance of enzymes within the cornea. This imbalance makes the cornea more susceptible to oxidative damage from compounds called free radicals, causing it to weaken and bulge forward.
Risk factors for oxidative damage and weakening of the cornea include a genetic predisposition, explaining why keratoconus often affects more than one member of the same family.
Keratoconus also is associated with overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, excessive eye rubbing, a history of poorly fitted contact lenses and chronic eye irritation.
During the early stage of Keratoconus, glasses can be used to provide a good standard of vision. Unfortunately, as the condition progresses the cornea becomes more irregular in shape, resulting in the glasses no longer working. Contact lenses give better vision as they help correct the distortion caused by the corneal irregularities thereby giving a better level of vision.
Contact lens fitting for keratoconus is done by our specially trained optometrists and needs a great level of patience from both the optometrist and patient. It is very important to understand that, unlike contact lenses to correct long or short sight, the fit might not be right first time. In keratoconus, everyone’s contact lens fit is different and can change over time. If the fit is not right another set of lenses will have to be ordered.
In the majority of cases we will hard lenses made of a material which allows oxygen to pass through it; these are called Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses. In general these give the best standard of vision; they are easy to put in and take out and are relatively easy to maintain and look after. The risk of an eye infection increases with contact lens wear. However this risk is less with RGP lens type. RGP lenses are often a little uncomfortable initially, but this becomes less so over time by. A small number of patients find they cannot adapt to these types of lenses or find that discomfort appears after a period of successful wear. If the lenses do become intolerable we can consider other types of contact lens solutions.
Piggyback – this is when a soft contact lens can be provided which sits on the eye and then the RGP lens is placed on top. Vision could be reduced a little and the system is more complicated (and possibly more expensive) as there are 2 lenses in one eye.
Thick soft lenses – these are usually more comfortable than RGP lenses but often vision is not as good. Many patients find the standard of vision is not acceptable for their lifestyle.
Hybrid – in theory this should offer the best of both worlds. The centre of the lens is hard to offer best vision and the outer part of the lens is soft to offer better comfort. In practice, however, we have found these lenses to be difficult to fit and many patients find them very difficult to put in and take out.
Scleral – These are large RGP lenses which can be used in some more advanced cases.
If you are entitled to a voucher, you might be exempt from charges, so lenses can be provided without any cost. If you are not entitled to a voucher, you will be asked to pay a charge for the lenses. This is often only a fraction of the overall cost of such complex, individually made lenses. You will need to show proof of benefit or pay for the lens on every occasion prior to ordering. This charge increases each year and is currently around £60 per yea.