Corneal Ring Segments: FSA Eligibility
What are corneal ring segments?
Corneal ring segments are surgical implants that are used to treat keratoconus, a condition that affects the clear, dome-shaped surface of the eye called the cornea. In individuals with keratoconus, the cornea can gradually thin and bulge outward into a conic shape, which can cause sensitivity to light and glare, as well as blurred vision in some cases. The condition may progress differently in each patient, but it typically begins to first affect patients between the ages of 10 to 25 (American Academy of Opthalmology).
While keratoconus can be corrected in its early stages with glasses or contact lenses, in some cases, the condition will progress to a point where these traditional vision correction methods are no longer viable. Corneal ring segments are an option for patients with astigmatism or myopia associated with keratoconus, and these clear pieces of plastic are surgically implanted into the cornea and are intended to be permanent, but can be removed if the patient is unhappy with the results. The implants are designed to flatten out the conical shape caused by keratoconus, which can correct many of the vision issues that are associated with the condition.
How is corneal ring segment surgery conducted?
Corneal ring segment implant surgery is remarkably simple, and only requires a local anesthetic to be performed successfully. After a small incision into the surface of the cornea, two implants are inserted in each eye, along the upper and lower portion of the cornea. The procedure usually only takes about 30 minutes to complete, and the incision does not require stitches and the affected area will heal naturally.
In the weeks after the surgery, antibiotic or anti-inflammatory eye drops may be used to prevent the chances of eye infections, and some patients may need to wear a shield over their eyes during sleep as well. Individuals who receive corneal ring segment implants may still require vision corrective methods in the future, but this surgery can greatly reduce the need for more invasive surgeries to treat keratoconus, such as corneal transplant surgery that requires a much longer recovery time (Johns Hopkins Medicine).