It can “potentially alter the course of this dreaded disease.”

A new study suggests that corneal crosslinking is a promising treatment for adolescent patients who have keratoconus, the American Optometric Association reports.

Keratoconus is a progressive condition can cause the cornea to thin and bulge out to form a cone shape.

Traditionally, in adults, corneal transplants have been considered the last, best option for keratoconus patients. This treatment has been discouraged in adolescents because of keratoconus aggressiveness and the tendency for younger patients to rub their eyes, according to AOA.

Corneal crosslinking is a less invasive option that was approved in April by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. It involves applying ultraviolet light along with a riboflavin agent to the cornea, preventing further progression of the disease, the AOA explains. 

A new study published in the European Journal of Ophthalmology found the treatment to be effective in young patients. The study was small, involving 19 patients who were 18 years old or younger.

One optometrist, Dr. Michael DePaolis of Rochester, NY, was quoted by AOA saying he’s “excited about the results” of the Turkish study.

“From my perspective, I've watched so many people go through the throes of keratoconus,” he said. “If I could wave a magic wand over one eye disease and halt it in its tracks, it would be — aside from age-related macular degeneration — keratoconus." He’s seen many patients suffer from symptoms such as blurred vision, light sensitivity and discomfort.

He added: “Finally, we have a treatment option that can potentially alter the course of this dreaded disease."

Read more at AOA

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