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Which keratoconus surgeries are possible?
If various treatments for keratoconus have failed, a keratoconus surgery can offer a solution. In addition to glasses or contact lenses and cross-linking, there are various surgical treatments for keratoconus. Treating keratoconus with surgery is drastic. Below you can read more about which keratoconus surgery you may be able to undergo if contact lenses or keratoconus glasses are not helpful.
Implanting intacts in the cornea
One keratoconus surgery that is possible is the implantation of intacts. Intacts are thin semicircular rings with a maximum thickness of 0.45 mm that are placed in the cornea. These kerarings, as intacts are also called, are made of clear, body-friendly plastic. This material has also been used for artificial lenses in cataract surgery for more than 50 years. These rings provide extra volume in the cornea, making the shape of the cornea at the location of the rings flatter. This makes the cone shape of the cornea less steep, giving it a more regular shape. This keratoconus surgery makes correction with glasses or contact lenses a lot easier.
If placing intacts does not work well, or is not possible, a corneal transplant may be the solution. This keratoconus surgery is very successful, but recovery after surgery takes a long time. You also often have to wear contact lenses to get the vision functional again.
Complete Corneal Transplant: Perforating Keratoplasty (PKP)
If the cornea has become completely cloudy, vision can only be restored by completely replacing the opaque cornea with a clear one. This keratoconus surgery is called a perforating keratoplasty. The abbreviations for this are ‘PK’ (Perforating Keratoplasty) or ‘PKP’ (Perforating KeratoPlastic).
Partial Corneal Transplant (DALK)
With keratoconus, a partial cornea transplant is often used. This operation is called a DALK, or deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty). The central, outer part of the cornea is replaced by donor tissue over almost the entire thickness. DALK is an effective treatment for abnormalities on the front of the cornea (epithelium, Bowmans layer, stroma) where the endothelium layer (inner layer) is still healthy.
Long recovery to cornea surgery
The success after a corneal transplant for keratoconus is high, but the recovery after surgery does take a long time. Count on a year. A transplanted cornea lasts 15 to 20 years on average.