Keratoconus and Corneal Crosslinking


What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a degenerative disorder of the eye in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve. A cone-shaped cornea results in blurred vision and may cause light and glare sensitivity. Keratoconus normally affects both eyes and is a disorder which progresses slowly.

Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision, with multiple images, streaking and sensitivity to light all often reported by the patient. It is typically diagnosed in the patient's adolescent years and attains its most severe state in the twenties and thirties. If afflicting both eyes, the deterioration in vision can affect the patient's ability to drive a car or read normal print. In most cases, corrective lenses are effective enough to allow the patient to continue to drive legally and likewise function normally. Further progression of the disease may require surgery, including intrastromal corneal ring segments, corneal collagen crosslinking, or corneal transplantation. However, despite the disease's unpredictable course, keratoconus can often be successfully managed with little or no impairment to the patient's quality of life.

What are the symptoms related to keratoconus?
The ophthalmologist may ask about keratoconus symptoms during an eye exam. These symptoms may include:

  • Sudden change in your vision
  • Double vision
  • Distorted vision
  • Streaking lights
  • Double or triple ghost images
  • Blurry vision, especially when driving at night

Dr Beatty will measure the shape of your cornea to properly diagnose whether you have keratoconus. This is usually done by corneal topography.

How is keratoconus treated?
There are different kinds of keratoconus treatment, which depends on how severe your condition is. In the early stages, keratoconus is corrected with the use of normal eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. As the disorder progresses, it may be corrected with the use of hard contact lenses or corneal crosslinking.

In some cases, if keratoconus becomes advanced, Dr Beatty may recommend that you get a cornea transplant.


Corneal Crosslinking

Corneal Crosslinking with Riboflavin for Keratoconus

What is corneal crosslinking?
Corneal crosslinking is a treatment advised for those with keratoconus a degenerative disorder of the eye in which the cornea begins to thin and change to a more conical shape resulting in poor vision. A new technique for the treatment of keratoconus is that of corneal collagen crosslinking with riboflavin (vitaminB2).

The main goal for corneal crosslinking is to prevent the cornea from bulging more. Corneal crosslinking add bonds between the collagen fibres in your eyes, which will then work like support beams to aid the cornea to stay stable. This procedure helps stop progressive keratoconus and avoid a corneal transplant.

How is corneal crosslinking done?
Prior to surgery, you will be advised to remove rigid contact lenses. This is an office procedure during which the ophthalmologist will then put the riboflavin eye drops which will be absorbed by the cornea. It takes approximately 30 minutes for the eye drops to be soaked into the cornea. He will then activate the ultraviolet light so that it will "crosslink" or strengthen the structural corneal collagen proteins which are weakened due to keratoconus.

What to expect after corneal crosslinking?
You will visit the ophthalmologist in the following days after the riboflavin crosslinking procedure for review, and the temporary contact lens will be removed. Only after four weeks can the patient go back to wearing old contacts and the new contacts will only be fitted after 4 to 6 months. There may be no improvement in vision, but the progression of the keratoconus will be significantly reduced, and the possibility of further sight loss or corneal graft minimized.

If you are researching Keratoconus, Corneal Crosslinking with Riboflavin or searching for an Ophthalmologist in Cape Town, please contact my practice where our qualified assistants are able to provide professional and friendly guidance.

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  • Pleased to confirm that I had both my eyes operated for cataracts. This was the best decision ever going for this procedure.
  • Ons is reeds jare pasiente by dr Beatty en ons het intussen afgetree en verhuis. Steeds ry ons vir ons besoeke daarheen en sien elke keer uit om daar te kuier!
  • I wanted you to know that I got my eyes checked and it came out as 20/20! You did a great job. The guy who checked my eyes said whoever did it really knew what they were doing :)   Anyway, thanks for doing such a good job! Glad you were able to open up just in time before we left for the states.  
  • Roger 12/11/20
    I will definitely recommend dr Beatty. I am so happy with my Lasik.
    Roger 12/11/20
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    Ek is regtig baie dankbaar en opgewonde om so mooi duidelik te  kan sien. 13/11/2020
    Mev Botha
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    Thank you for always helping me on such short notice. James is the best!
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    Julle is 'n great span met die beste dokter.
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    Thank you ladies for always being so helpful and friendly:)
  • Lauren
    Doctor Beatty is hands-down one of the best Ophthalmologist I have ever seen in my 35 years of life!
  • Gary
    Such a  privilege to have doctor Beatty  as my Ophthalmologist.
    Ek was besoeker by julle kamers tydens my vakansie in die Kaap. Ek is julle is so dankbaar vir die vinnige hulp en goeie diens.
  • John
    Lovely ladies and best doctor. Love you all and looking forwards seeing you next year for my follow-up.
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  • Best decision and results after I had my Lasik done by doctor Beatty!
  • Always looking forward seeing doctor Beatty for my check-up once a year.
  • Thom
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    Very impressed with Dr Beatty, the hospital and aftercare was excellent.
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  • Johann
    Julle diens is uitstekend en almal is altyd baie vriendelik.
  • Rene van Tonder

    I have been a patient of Dr Beatty since 25 April 2013. I then followed him after moving practice to the new building in Paardevlei and I have not looked back.

    At Somerset Eye Clinic, vision becomes a reality. Though advanced imaging and state-of-the-art technology, Dr Beatty diagnosed my eye problem timeously, thereby arrested the disease in it's earliest stages. Dr Beatty also practices the most sophisticated surgical techniques for the treatment of patients and remains on par with international research and developments in the field of ophthalmology.

    The dedicated team of ophthalmic assistants and administrators are handpicked to optimise practice management, functioning and patient care. Visiting Dr Beatty's practice feels like dealing with trusted, loyal family. Dr Beatty's gentle, patient, kind and caring manner, fosters patient loyalty, respect and long-term engagement.

    I am a strong advocate for his practice and a patient for life.

    Rene van Tonder
  • Pieter Moelich

    I was lucky enough to find Dr Beatty via a referral and I would refer him to anyone interested in Lasik / PRK eye surgery. The entire experience, which can be scary, was really pleasant with his and his staffs professional advise and care before, during and after the surgery. I am very thankful to be able to look at the world and go about my day to day activities without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses.

    Pieter Moelich
  • Elsabe de la Port

    Who it may concern

    About nine months ago Dr Beatty removed cataracts from both my eyes.

    The procedures were successful and I do recommend this particular specialist. He is always professional and it was a relaxed experience.

    The admin personnel are always friendly and professional.


    Elsabe de la Port