Intacs® vs. Corneal Cross-Linking: Advanced Keratoconus Treatments By Andrew Holzman on March 14, 2017

Intacs vs. Corneal Cross-linkingFor patients with advanced, progressive keratoconus, Dr. Holzman offers two advanced treatment options at our Washington, DC area practice. Intacs®, or corneal implants, can help strengthen corneas weakened by keratoconus to improve vision. Corneal cross-linking is an exciting new treatment option that uses UV light to strengthen the corneas. Dr. Holzman can explain the differences between Intacs® vs. corneal cross-linking and help you determine which option is right for you after a thorough examination.

What Is Keratoconus?

This degenerative eye condition is primarily genetic. The condition breaks down the collagen in the cornea, creating a conical shape. This causes the vision to blur and become distorted. As the condition worsens, patients may also have increased sensitivity to light.

Early stages of keratoconus can be treated with glasses or contact lenses. As the condition progresses, more progressive treatments are needed to restore vision. Custom contact lenses are an option, although patients with progressive keratoconus may need something that offers more permanent improvement.


Intacs® are synthetic devices placed beneath the weakened corneas. Intacs® come in pairs, so two are implanted into each eye. They work together to create a rounder cornea to restore vision. More than half of patients who receive Intacs® achieve 20/20 vision, and nearly all patients achieve at least 20/40 vision. In spite of this, some patients may need to continue wearing glasses or contacts, although usually at a lower prescription.

Corneal Cross-linking

Corneal cross-linking is a new and exciting, non-invasive treatment for keratoconus. Our practice has been sanctioned as a test site by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The process takes less than 10 minutes to complete and involves the patient staring at a UV light. For five days, the patient wears a bandage contact lens, followed by two weeks of anti-inflammatory eye drops.

Combining the Two Treatments

Patients with severe forms of progressive keratoconus who have not responded to other forms of treatment may be good candidates for a combination of the two treatments. When the two treatments are combined, the results are more pronounced, providing patients with long-lasting restored vision. With the FDA approval of corneal cross-linking on the horizon, thousands of patients could avoid the need for corneal transplants. Corneal transplantation is a more extensive and invasive procedure that involves far more risks for patients.

Find Out Which Option Is Right for You

Dr. Holzman has been at the forefront of ophthalmologic technology. He offers the most advanced and least invasive treatments for keratoconus to minimize the potential for risks and complications. If you are suffering from the effects of keratoconus, contact our practice today to schedule a consultation. Dr. Holzman will thoroughly evaluate your vision and corneas and discuss how past treatment options have worked for you. From there, he can determine whether you are a good candidate for Intacs®, corneal cross-linking, or both. Don’t waste another day struggling with poor vision.

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Dr. Andrew Holzman

Andrew E. Holzman, MD, FACS

Andrew E. Holzman, MD, FACS, is one of the most well-respected ophthalmologists in the greater Washington, DC, area. He is regularly sought out by professional athletes, media personalities, and other doctors for laser eye surgery. Dr. Holzman is a member of several prestigious organizations, including:

  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • The American College of Surgeons
  • The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • The American Medical Association
  • The International Society of Refractive Surgery

To schedule a consultation at one of our five locations, please fill out our online form or give us a call at (703) 556-9155.

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