Only a qualified ophthalmologist such as Manhattan laser eye surgeon Sandra Belmont, MD, FACS, can properly diagnose and treat corneal disease. At Belmont Eye Center, Dr. Belmont uses advanced diagnostic tools such as a slit lamp and magnifying instruments to identify vision problems, including any issues affecting the front of the eye (the cornea). There are many disorders that can affect the cornea, including keratoconus, a condition in which the curvature of the cornea becomes abnormally steep. The treatment for keratoconus varies, depending on how far the disease has progressed, but for some patients, Intacs corneal implants might be an appropriate option.
Intacs for the Treatment of Mild to Moderate Keratoconus
As keratoconus progresses, it makes it increasingly difficult to wear contact lenses and can ultimately impair vision significantly. In its early stages, Dr. Belmont may simply prescribe contact lenses. In its most advanced stage, corneal transplant surgery may become necessary.
For patients who have keratoconus that has progressed far enough that contact lenses are no longer helpful but do not yet need a cornea transplant, Dr. Belmont may recommend Intacs corneal implants.
Intacs corneal implants are miniscule, crescent-shaped, transparent pieces of plastic. The corneal implants are made of the same biocompatible material that intraocular lens implants (IOLs) are made of, so there is hardly any risk of experiencing an adverse reaction to the material.
When inserted into the cornea, Intacs works to reshape the curvature of the cornea. With Intacs treatment, Dr. Belmont may be able to prevent the cornea from steepening and bulging further, potentially postponing the needed for keratoplasty, or corneal transplantation.
How Intacs Corneal Implants Work
For the treatment of keratoconus, Intacs corneal implants work by flattening the cone, or the steep section of the cornea, to decrease vision distortions. Intacs may also be a suitable treatment option for nearsighted individuals; as Intacs flattens the cornea, the light rays that enter the eye are refocused, thereby improving vision.
The Intacs Procedure
The Intacs procedure is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that only takes about 15 minutes. However, patients will need to arrange to have someone pick them up and drive them home after surgery.
Before starting the procedure, Dr. Belmont administers topical anesthetic eye drops, so you do not feel a thing for the duration of surgery. During the Intacs procedure, the New York City laser eye surgeon generates a tunnel through the cornea’s stroma layer, avoiding the central optical zone. She then inserts the Intacs into the tunnel, choosing the Intacs level of thickness that will most effectively treat your unique vision problem. Once the Intacs have been inserted, the procedure is complete.
Long-Term Vision Correction
Intacs corneal implants are intended for long-term use. Only about 4 percent of Intacs patients are not satisfied with the results of their procedure. If you are in this small group, Dr. Belmont can remove the Intacs implants, and either replace them with implants of a different thickness level or leave them out for good. In the latter case, your eyesight will return to how it was before the procedure within about three months. She can also replace your current Intacs with new ones if your prescription changes.
Postpone or Eliminate Your Need for a Cornea Transplant
If you suffer from keratoconus and can no longer wear contact lenses but are also not ready for corneal transplant surgery, Intacs might be right for you. To find out if you are a suitable candidate for Intacs corneal implants, schedule an appointment with Dr. Belmont. She will assess your situation and establish how far your keratoconus has progressed. Depending on her assessment, you may be able to postpone or eliminate your need for a cornea transplant, with Intacs treatment.
To schedule a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Belmont to determine your candidacy for Intacs treatment, please contact Belmont Eye Center by calling (212) 486-2020 or by clicking here.