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Please note: Keratoconus Australia Inc takes no responsibility for information found on off-site links. This information is outside the control of the association and it remains the responsibility of internet users to evaluate its accuracy.

Corneal transplants explained - the booklet

Everything you wanted to know about corneal transplants and their care. A 24 page booklet edited by the US National Keratoconus Foundation is now available free for patients booked in for a corneal transplant). This is an invaluable resource for anyone facing the prospect of a corneal transplant or their families. Email us for further details.

Current research into Keratoconus
An overview of recent developments in research into keratoconus can be found at

  • research

  • News feeds to keratoconus-related articles can be found here

US KC-link
Register for KC-link, an interactive, worldwide forum for people with keratoconus

Keratoconus, the Cornea and Corneal Disease

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus and treatments

The US National Eye Institute

KCvision - a site dedicated to showing others how we see things

Contact lenses and keratoconus
An overview (School of Optometry, Indiana University)

Types of contact lenses for keratoconus

Tips for successful contact lens wear and other information about lenses

How to clean your RGPs

A glossary of contact lens terminology

12 things you can do to improve your contact lens wear
(an article from the US NKCF newsletter)

Corneal transplants: procedure and risks etc.

When to have surgery?

Questions to ask your surgeon before the operation

What is a corneal transplant; are there alternatives?

Types of corneal transplantation

Moorfields Eye Hospital (UK)

Artificial corneas

The latest on artificial corneas

Itchy eyes, Eye rubbing and Keratoconus

  • The arrival of spring means warmer weather and longer days. But for many people with keratoconus it also heralds the return of allergies: hayfever, asthma and itchy eyes that can make life hell for those of us who wear contact lenses.

    Keratoconus can be aggravated by eye rubbing. So if you suffer from itchy eyes, please see your chemist, GP or optometrist to obtain some of the excellent eye drops that can provide instant and long relief. If you also have hayfever, a general an-summertihistamine tablet may be a better alternative in spring-summer. Chronic sufferers should see an allergist to explore ways of achieving long term relief and control of their allergies and asthma.

    For problems with dry eye, consider using a rewetting agent on your contact lenses. Again your contact lens fitter should be able to advise on a strategy for managing the problem.

  • If you suffer from either condition, it is vital not to rub your eyes and to seek treatment from an experienced keratoconus practitioner to ensure that your contact lenses do not damage your corneas. Rubbing your eyes may feel good, but it also encourages you to continue and risk further progression in your keratoonus.

  • Australian research on the link between eye rubbing and keratoconus

    Keratoconus, allergy, itch, eye-rubbing and hand-dominance by McMonnies CW, Boneham GC
    Published in the November 2003 issue of Journal of Clinical and Experimental Optometry

Intacs and other ring inserts

Intacs (and other ring inserts) are small curved plastic inserts, which are surgically placed under the surface of the cornea. They aim to give the cornea a more natural dome-like shape, and thereby improve a patient's vision.

intacs
intac segments

Proponents claim that intacs are best suited to patients with mild keratoconus but who are contact lens intolerant. Few patients actually fall into this category. Most patients who believe they are intolerant of contact lenses are actually suffering from incorrectly fitted lenses and need to see an expert contact lens fitter for keratoconus

An application by the Australian distributor of INTACS for public funding of this procedure was rejected by the minister of health in November 2005.

Advice by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) indicated that there was insufficient evidence of their long term benefit to patients or their cost effectiveness.

Details of this decision can be found on the website of the MSAC here

In the United States, intacs corneal implants were approved under a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) by the FDA in July 2004, allowing them to be used for treating keratoconus. Intacs were first designated a Humanitarian Use Device (HUD) by the FDA's Office of Orphan Products Development in August 2003.

However this does not mean intacs have been proven to be safe and effective. In fact, the manufacturer of intacs states on its website that "The effectiveness of this device for (treating keratoconus) has not been demonstrated."

Risks
Apart from the risk of infection, patients can experience visual symptoms including difficulty with night vision, glare, halos, blurry and fluctuating vision.

Australian corneal surgeons say that because of these sorts of complications, most patients have their intacs removed again within two years of insertion. Intac removal can damage the cornea despite claims that the operation is "reversible." Contact lens fitters for keratoconus also say that intacs can complicate contact lens fits, making it harder to achieve optimal visual outcomes for patients.

We note that there is little or no reliable evidence to suggest that corneal collagen crosslinking results are better if intacs are also inserted into the treated cornea.

Intacs are a very expensive operation and Keratoconus Australia cautions patients about claims made about these devices. We strongly advise anyone considering intacs to first see a contact lens fitter who specializes in contact lenses for keratoconus, as these are the best long term solution for vision loss caused by keratoconus. Should you still be interested, please seek a second opinion from a corneal surgeon for keratoconus who has no vested interest in performing in the operation.

For more information on intacs,

Old Article by Richard Lindsay, Melbourne optometrist


Intacs manufacturer website (note: this is advertising material. Please verify all claims with your corneal surgeon)

Corneal donation in Australia

Information on the Melbourne Lions Eye Donation Service, corneal donation and corneal grafts in Australia
Corneal Recipient Information and other donor resources.

A guide to eye banking in Australia can be downloaded here

State Eye Banks

Australian health system links

This page on the Department of Health and Aging website provides links to a number of organizations which could help you negotiate the complexities of the Australian health system.Included are:

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blockResources for children and students with a vision disability

The Victorian Statewide Vision Resource Centre promotes an understanding of the educational needs of students who are blind or have low vision, provides professional development to school communities and provides students with text books in their preferred format. This site provides a range of resources for students and educators to help deal with vision-related problems.

The CATS Project has established a framework for good practice that provides information and resources to assist universities to create equitable access for students with disability and to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act and the Disability Standards for Education.

Specific information about the impact of vision impairment on education can be found here.

More links to other resources will continue to appear on this page.

Please keep coming back, as this page will become a key element in Keratoconus Australia's effort to assist people with keratoconus. It will contain links to a variety of resources for people with keratoconus and their families including:

  • articles on recent developments in the treatment of keratoconus
  • tips and advice on living with keratoconus

Please send us anything that might be useful for others info@Keratoconus.asn.au