Many eye disorders that cause total blindness can be treated successfully enough to prevent this final outcome. Modern technologies and techniques allow eye care providers to perform advanced procedures to reverse, arrest, or at least slow vision loss. Some of these procedures include:
Individuals who suffer from weak, damaged, or deformed corneas may opt for a corneal transplant after other corrective procedures have failed. Depending on the extent of the problem, your eye doctor may extract the entire central portion of the cornea or just the epithelial layer beneath the topmost layer of tissue. You will then receive a donor cornea or a biocompatible synthetic cornea. While you may be able to return to your daily life activities after a few weeks, total recovery can take a year or more.
Corneal collagen crosslinking
People with keratoconus suffer from weak collagen bonds in their corneal tissue. Corneal collagen crosslinking addresses this problem by using a combination of riboflavin and UV-A rays to strengthen the bonds between the collagen fibers. This type of procedure is referred to as CXL or C3R; while it does not reverse the bulging caused by keratoconus, it might slow the disorder and thus help you avoid a corneal transplant.
Intacs for keratoconus
If you suffer from a bulging of the cornea known as keratoconus, you may be able to flatten that bulge out with the aid of Intacs. These tiny, sliver-shaped inserts are fitted into an incision around the periphery of the cornea. They exert just enough outward pressure to flatten the bulge back to a normal spherical shape. If you can’t get satisfactory vision correction from glasses or contacts, Intacs may be the next logical choice.
Punctal plugs are tiny, biocompatible devices inserted into tear ducts to block drainage. This increases the eye’s tear film and surface moisture to relieve dry eye. Also known as punctum plugs, lacrimal plugs or occluders, these devices often are no larger than a grain of rice. Punctal plugs usually are considered when non-prescription or prescription eye drops fail to relieve your dry eye condition.
Two general types of tear duct plugs are:
Semi-permanent, typically made of long-lasting materials such as silicone.
Dissolvable, made of materials such as collagen that the body eventually absorbs.