Keratoconus and the Evolution of Corneal Surgery: Why the United States Lags Behind the Rest of the World

The United States has been recognized for decades as being a leader when it comes to the world of ophthalmology, and often is the home to revolutionary advances in regards to eye surgery. However, there is one area where the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world, and that is corneal surgery and intraocular lens implants.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a medical condition that affects the shape of the cornea. The cornea is the clear surface of the eye that normally has a perfectly rounded shape. When keratoconus is present, this dome shape is compromised and the cornea begins to bulge outward and make it difficult for the individual to be able to focus on objects. As the condition progression, the person can experience blurred vision, as well as glares and halos, especially in the presence of bright lights.

How is Keratoconus Treated?

In order to treat keratoconus, the weakened and misshapen cornea needs to be replaced with the help of corneal scar treatment. Today, there are many advanced corneal surgeries available that enable eye surgeons to implant a new intraocular lens into the eye in order to restore the person’s vision.

While intraocular lenses have been around for many years, recently premium IOLs that are capable of addressing very specific vision problems, and can yield incredible results, have been developed. While traditional intraocular lenses are monofocal, which means that they can only improve vision at one particular distance, premium multifocal IOLs are now available. These lenses have the capability of allowing people to see near, far, or intermediate distances using one lens.

Why the United States is Lagging Behind

The limitations being faced by eye surgeons in the United States are quite interesting when it comes to corneal transplant surgery. Professionals in the United States are inventing many of the revolutionary premium lenses, but surgeons in countries around the world have greater access to these technologies. Because many of the IOLs are currently tied up in the FDA approval process, American ophthalmologists simply do not have as many choices to offer their patients.

When it comes to corneal therapy, eye surgeons in the U.S. are lagging behind because they do not have access to the wide selection of lenses ophthalmologists in European countries have. Once American eye surgeons are able to use all of the advanced intraocular lenses, they will be better suited to provide custom solutions for eye conditions, such as keratoconus.