If you’ve been diagnosed with keratoconus, Intacs Prescription Inserts could be the treatment you’ve been looking for. One in 2,000 people have some degree of Keratoconus, a progressive thinning of the cornea. As the condition progresses, the cornea takes on a conical shape. Everyday activities, such as driving and reading, become increasingly difficult to perform. Historically, people with keratoconus do not suffer total blindness but nearly a quarter of them eventually need corneal transplants. Because keratoconus makes the corneas thin and weak, LASIK procedures are not recommended.
The Christenbury Eye Center is always on the lookout for new technologies that can benefit our patients. That’s why we have adopted an innovative approach to treating keratococonus: Intacs Prescription Inserts. Intacs work by flattening the cone-shaped cornea to reduce vision distortions. This revolutionary new procedure can improve both corrected and uncorrected vision. What’s more, Intacs allow many patients to avoid the need for corneal transplants. Those patients who do eventually need a corneal transplant and have to have their Intacs removed rarely experience complications.
Dr. Christenbury has undergone a rigorous training process specific to Intacs. This keratoconus treatment has a high success rate and is far less invasive than a corneal transplant.
The Intacs Procedure
Before approving a patient for Intacs, we perform an eye exam, including a variety of standard ophthalmic tests. We also take a medical history and look at the results of certain general medical tests.
The Intacs procedure is performed in the office, with the patient under mild to moderate sedation. We use anesthetic drops to numb the eye, which is held open throughout the procedure to prevent blinking.
Step 1: A single, small incision is made in the surface of the cornea. We use the Intralase laser to create the channels in which the Intacs are placed. This makes for a quicker, safer procedure with better visual outcomes.
Step 2: The eye is prepared for Intacs placement. A circular centering guide is placed on the surface of the eye to ensure proper alignment of the Intacs inserts. Once the eye is stabilized by the centering guide, the surgeon gently separates the corneal layers in a narrow circular band on the outer edge where the Intacs will be iserted.
Step 3: The Intacs inserts are placed. These are available in different thicknesses, and one or two inserts may be needed, depending on the degree of vision correction the patient requires. After the placement of the Intacs, the small opening in the cornea is closed.
Step 4: The procedure is completed.
The Intacs inserts reshape and reinforce the cornea, eliminating some or all of the irregularities and resulting vision problems caused by keratoconus. Follow up visits will be required to monitor the healing process and evaluate the visual benefits of the procedure. Even after a successful procedure, glasses or contacts may be required.
Intacs and Insurance Coverage
The FDA has approved a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) for Intacs as a treatment for keratoconus. An HDE approval allows Christenbury Eye Center to market Intacs, and many health plans and insurance companies now cover and pay for the cost of keratoconus treatment using Intacs. Give us a call and we can tell you whether your insurance company or health plan covers the Intacs procedure.