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Intacs and Keratoconus

Intacs are designed to improve vision in keratoconus eye disease.

Keratoconus is a degenerative non-inflammatory 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.

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Symptoms of Keratoconus

It usually progresses very slowly and can be hard to diagnose at first.

  • At first, vision is a little blurry
  • There may be sensitivity to glare and light
  • Vision changes


At first, glasses or soft contact lenses can be helpful. But as the cornea continues to change shape, glasses and contact lenses become less effective.

Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses

A rigid contact lens can cover the irregular and changing cornea better than a soft one and improve vision at least for a while. Getting them to fit comfortably can take several visits, and as the cornea keeps thinning and changing its contour, they must be refitted repeatedly.


Intacs are a new way to treat nearsightedness and astigmatism when you have keratoconus, and a solution that can be used after contact lenses cease being useful.
Intacs are tiny, clear pieces of plastic polymer, shaped like a new moon, approved by the FDA in 2004 after being used by some eye surgeons since 1999. In 2006, the FDA agreed that they could be described as corneal implants, rather than just as inserts.

They’re a long-term solution for vision correction but not permanent
They work by flattening the cornea, which re-focuses the light rays so they can create a clear image on the retina
They’re removable

The procedure

  • Your eyes are first given anesthetic eye drops.
  • You can choose to have an oral sedative as well.
  • Dr. Khanna chooses implants of the correct thickness for your degree of vision impairment. The more correction needed, the thicker the implants.
  • They’re placed just beneath the outside surface of the cornea.
  • The procedure takes only about 15 minutes.

If you’re not pleased with the results, Intacs can be replaced with implants of a different thickness or just removed permanently. And as your eyesight changes over the years, you can have them replaced to keep up with the changes.

Not a permanent solution

Since keratoconus is a progressive disease, Intacs can’t prevent it from continuing to impair eyesight. But they can slow down the deterioration. When Intacs cease being helpful, a corneal transplant must be performed.

Potential risks

  • Infection
  • Less vision improvement than was hoped for
  • Glare and halos
  • A feeling that there’s an eyelash or something in your eye

Intacs are a successful way of treating keratoconus and when inserted by a highly trained eye surgeon like Dr. Khanna, will give you clear vision on a long-term basis.

Intacs may be combined with Cornea cross linking

If you would like to learn more about Intacs and Keratoconus, please contact Dr. Khanna at the Institute of LASIK & Refractive Surgery in Los Angeles County, California today to schedule your Intacs appointment.

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