It used to be that approximately 50 percent of patients diagnosed with keratoconus needed a very invasive surgery called a corneal transplant. This was partly due to the limited number of treatment options we had then for patients with keratoconus. For 50 years, the mainstay of treatment was hard contact lenses. Hard lenses for keratoconus tended to be uncomfortable, would be painful if dirt or debris became trapped underneath, and tended to move around the eye in unpredictable ways, sometimes becoming dislodged during important activities like sports or driving.
But there’s good news: Now we have much more sophisticated treatments. Thanks to them, now only approximately 1 percent of Optique’s patients with keratoconus progress to needing corneal transplant surgery.
Improvements in Contact Lenses
We now have three new contact lens strategies to correct vision in patients with keratoconus:
- Custom soft toric lenses . . . At Optique, we have exclusive suppliers who will create custom lenses of any power, diameter, and curvature—only for us. These are lenses that are simply not available from other optometrists in Tennessee. These suppliers chose Optique because we are the dominant keratoconus practice in the state.
- Custom hybrid lenses . . . A hybrid lens is a lens specifically designed for keratoconus that combines the best properties of a gas-permeable lens with a soft lens skirt that keeps the lens centered and comfortable. But at Optique we have taken this one step further: We have a very close relationship with SynergEyes, the company that creates hybrid lenses for keratoconus. SynergEyes has granted Optique and only two other practices in the world the ability to custom-make any hybrid lens to suit the needs of our patients. So, at Optique, you can get a lens tailored to your eye, not just one the practitioner takes off the shelf.
- Scleral lenses . . . Optique is the undisputed leader in scleral lenses for keratoconus in Tennessee and much of the South. Most ophthalmologists in Middle Tennessee refer their difficult cases to us. Patients travel from as far as North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Kentucky to seek our expertise. We have been at the forefront of scleral lenses since they were brought to market—researching, publishing, and teaching other optometrists around the globe.
A new type of minimally invasive surgery for keratoconus, called corneal crosslinking (CXL), was approved by the FDA last year. There are now multiple health insurers in Tennessee that cover the procedure for keratoconus. CXL is a procedure that does not improve your vision, but slows or stops the progression of keratoconus. We have wonderful relationships with local surgeons who perform this procedure, and who are happy to see our patients.
Keratoconus is a condition that is highly treatable and manageable, with excellent outcomes. When patients are in the hands of a skilled team that manages keratoconus on a daily basis, they can expect the best results.
About Dr. Jeffrey Sonsino
Dr. Sonsino is a diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lenses, and Refractive Technologies section of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). He is also past chairman of the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) Council on Cornea and Contact Lenses, a fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society, and is on the advisory board of the Gas Permeable Lens Institute (GPLI). In 2017, he was awarded the Practitioner of the Year by the GPLI, the Advocate of the Year by the American Optometric Association, and locally, was awarded a Top Three Optometrists in Nashville award by the Nashville Scene.
Optique Eye Care / Eye Wear is located at 2817 West End Avenue Suite 117 | Park Place Shopping Center | Nashville, TN 37203. We invite you to stop by or contact us for an appointment via our website at https://OptiqueNashville.com.