Can Keratoconus Patients Get Smile Pro Surgery?

The realm of refractive surgeries has witnessed remarkable advancements, with SMILE Pro Surgery standing out as a cutting-edge solution for vision correction. However, for individuals grappling with keratoconus, a progressive eye disorder characterized by corneal thinning and a cone-like protrusion, the compatibility of SMILE Pro Surgery warrants careful consideration.

In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the intricate dynamics of keratoconus, the challenges it poses, and why SMILE Pro Surgery may not be the optimal choice for individuals with this condition.


Understanding Keratoconus

Keratoconus, originating from the Greek words “kerato” (cornea) and “conus” (cone-like), is a multifaceted eye disorder influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This condition causes the cornea, which is normally shaped like a dome, to become thin and take on a conical shape, leading to a range of visual distortions. Keratoconus can affect one or both eyes.

Keratoconus is associated with several reported risk factors, including eye rubbing, a family history of keratoconus, ocular allergy, connective tissue disease, occurrence during pregnancy in some cases, and long-term contact lens wear.

Symptoms generally manifest in late adolescence or early adulthood. Initially, there may be a need for corrective eyewear, followed by mild blurring and eventually pronounced irregular astigmatism. Other indicators include sensitivity to light, double vision, glare, halos, and difficulty seeing in specific lighting conditions. Visual distortion may also be experienced.


The Progressive Nature of Keratoconus
As a degenerative corneal disease, keratoconus introduces challenges that evolve over time. In the initial stages, traditional correction methods like eyeglasses and soft contact lenses may be sufficient. However, as the cornea continues to thin and distort, leading to frequent changes in prescription, alternative interventions become necessary.


Why SMILE Pro Surgery is Not Suitable for Keratoconus Patients?

While SMILE Pro Surgery has shown success in treating various refractive errors, it is not recommended for individuals with keratoconus.

SMILE Pro involves reshaping the cornea through the removal of corneal tissue, which may worsen the structural fragility of a cornea already affected by keratoconus. This poses a risk to the cornea’s integrity, leading to unpredictable changes in its shape and potential deterioration of vision, including vision loss. Due to these inherent risks, SMILE Pro Surgery is not a suitable option for individuals with this progressive eye disorder.

Furthermore, it is crucial to note that neither SMILE Pro Surgery nor any other type of corneal laser procedure is suitable for keratoconus patients to minimize the risk of postoperative ectasia.


Alternative Treatments for Keratoconus

Recognizing the limitations of SMILE Pro Surgery, individuals with keratoconus can explore alternative treatments tailored to their unique needs:


Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL):
A procedure specifically developed to enhance the rigidity of the cornea. Its primary objective is to slow down or even halt the progressive thinning and bulging that typically accompanies keratoconus.


Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL):
Revolutionary ICL technology involves permanently implanting a prescription lens into the eye, eliminating the dependence on external glasses.


Corneal Transplants:
In cases where the cornea is severely compromised, a transplant from a donor may be considered.


Tiny plastic rings implanted in the cornea to aid in maintaining its shape.


Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT):
Utilized to treat associated conditions like open-angle glaucoma that may coexist with keratoconus.


Iris implants:
In cases of severe keratoconus, individuals have the option to undergo iris implantation. While this procedure can improve the aesthetic appeal of the eye, it should be noted that it does not offer any vision correction benefits.


Making Informed Decisions for Vision Correction with Keratoconus

In navigating the complex terrain of vision correction for individuals with keratoconus, the emphasis on informed decision-making cannot be overstated. While SMILE Pro Surgery showcases remarkable efficacy for various refractive errors, its application in the presence of keratoconus introduces potential risks.

Living with keratoconus can be challenging. Thankfully, there are alternative treatments available, such as corneal cross-linking, ICL, and others, that offer safer and personalized solutions. It is crucial to consult with an eye care professional to develop a tailored treatment plan that addresses the specific circumstances of each individual facing the difficulties posed by keratoconus.


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