Keratoconus treatment study underway in Atlanta

02 Jun

Image of bulging cornea in KeratoconusA new Keratoconus treatment called corneal crosslinking shows great promise in the treatment of this visual condition, according to Dr. John Henahan of Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City.

Keratoconus is a progressive condition that results in poor vision and usually requires a person to wear uncomfortable hard contact lenses for any degree of visual clarity.

To understand this condition it is helpful to think of the eye as being like a camera. The main focusing lens of the eye is called the cornea. For most of us, the cornea is a smooth regular shape, much like a nice camera lens. For patients with keratoconus, the cornea is weak and develops a bulge just below center that results in a distorted image being transmitted through the eye. As a result, everything looks blurry. Even worse, regular glasses and soft contact lenses do not provide adequate clarity. The only option has been wearing hard contact lenses, or in advanced cases, surgery. Both have substantial drawbacks. Hard contact lenses are less comfortable and can result in corneal scarring in some patients. Corneal transplant surgery is a major operation that takes many months to recover from, as well as carrying the risk of transplant rejection and infection.

At Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City, Dr. Henahan is collaborating with Doyle Stulting, MD, PhD to enroll patients in this exciting study that has shown excellent results in stabilizing and often improving the bulging of the cornea in patients with keratoconus.  Dr. Stulting has joined with Woolfson Eye Institute in a unique collaboration of academic research and private practice service to expand the reach of this exciting study.

Corneal cross-linking is a non-invasive treatment using riboflavin and a special type of ultra-violet light to stimulate the cornea into strengthening itself.  As the cornea strengthens itself, it resists (and in some cases begins to reverse) the bulge that forms in due to the weakness inherent in the cornea in patients with keratoconus.

To be eligible for the study, the patient must have keratoconus without significant corneal scarring.  If you or a loved one suffer from keratoconus, I urge you to contact us or Dr. Stulting to be evaluated for potential inclusion in this study. I you live outside the metro- Atlanta area, this article has a list of participating centers.

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11 Responses to “Keratoconus treatment study underway in Atlanta”

  1. Catherine Warren, Exec Dir NKCF June 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    The link mentioned in the last sentence is incorrect. (I you live outside the metro- Atlanta area, this article has a list of participating centers.)
    It points to the FDA Clinical Trials sites which have completed enrollment.

    The correct link should be to another section of the National Keratoconus Foundation’s website ( lists the IND studies that are enrolling patients:

    If you have questions contact me at

  2. drhenahan June 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Thank you for the correction! I have corrected the link in the post.

  3. tinnitis August 10, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    Glad to see that this site works well on my iPhone , everything I want to do is functional. Thanks for keeping it up to date with the latest.

  4. Cary Tulis August 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Wow, I really loved this post, never thought about it like that. Thanks for the insight.

  5. Evan Hessong August 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    Thanks a bunch, searched for this like crazy and found all I wanted here.

  6. Strange google results August 29, 2010 at 12:08 am #

    Strange this post is totaly unrelated to what I was searching google for, but it was listed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you enough to put you on the first page of a non related search. :)

  7. drhenahan September 3, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Thanks! I LOVE the WP iPhone Theme.

  8. Dreddy July 11, 2013 at 4:42 am #

    Dr what are the longterm and shortterm side effects that one might anticipate in corneal cross-linking?

  9. John Henahan July 11, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    Short term there is discomfort for about 24-48 hours, similar to someone who underwent refractive surgery. Long term there are no known negatives and in fact the procedure greatly reduces the probability of needing a corneal transplant vs not having the cross linking. I hope this answers your question!

  10. Marcy June 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    Dr. What is the lenght of time for recovery from this surgery to return to normal daily life?

  11. John Henahan July 3, 2015 at 8:11 am #

    Marcy, The more difficult of the procedure is the several days to weeks before the cross-linking that you have to discontinue your contact lenses. The procedure itself takes less than an hour, and will result in moderate discomfort for 24-48 hours. Some eye drops will be required post-operatively as well. As soon as your physician allows you to resume contact lenses (usually a few days), life is back to normal from a vision point of view.

    Hope this helps and good luck!

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