This may seem a bit off topic, but keratoconus is one of the eye conditions that can get you screened out for laser eye surgery. Also, the microwave part got my attention
Anyway, there was this UK man whose friend had noticed that he was squinting a lot. He also noticed it too when he was reading the paper or watching TV. When he got an eye test done, he was referred to the specialist who told him he had gotten the degenerative disease known as … keratoconus (surprise, surprise). Since it was a progressive disease, it would eventually worsen his condition if he didn’t do anything about it. The specialist said that the usual treatment would be eye surgery, or more specifically, a corneal transplant, but he was too afraid to get it done. And also, he was told it would take another 18 months for vision to stabilise after the surgery, so he didn’t want to wait that long.
Instead of doing nothing about it, the man (did I tell you his name was Carl Evans?) decided to get contact lenses to correct the keratoconus. These are rigid contact lenses that physically flatten out the bulge of the cornea causes by keratoconus. It does actually work, but in this case it didn’t, since after 5 years of wearing these contact lenses, his new doctor, Imran Rahman, told him that his sight had gotten worse.
Dr. Rahman told him that there was a relatively new technology called Keraflex, that reshapes the cornea without incision. Keraflex was actually invented in the US 2 or 3 years ago and uses microwave heat to shrink the collagen fibres of the cornea to restore its proper shape. After the microwaving would take place, which lasts only a fraction of a millisecond, Carl would be given eye drops of riboflavin (vitamin B2) and then his eye would then be exposed to ultraviolet light. The UV light would produce special oxygen molecules that would cause the stretched collagen fibres to bond and stiffen and in doing so, flatten the cornea for about 5-10 years in which time, the disease would have run its course.
Carl agreed and after hearing the beeps from the machine as it zapped his eye, everything was clear immediately afterwards. Carl was given antibiotics and painkillers after the operation and was told to revisit the doctor 3 weeks later to make sure his cornea was OK.
The whole operation itself lasted about half an hour, in which light was shone into the light. Funnily enough, corneal collagen cross-linking hasn’t yet been approved by the FDA, even though cross-linking has been popular for some time in Asia and Europe, as is the case here.
This kind of surgery can also be probably used for those suffering from post-LASIK complications like ectasia, although it’ll probably cost you can extra 5000 pounds per eye (or $7800 per eye). Due to the incredibly high cost of this operation, some have even suggested to simply stick one’s head into the microwave machine and get the operation done yourself. However, I really do not recommend this!
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