Keratoconus Treatment Candidacy

Keratoconus treatment candidacy, evaluated at our Washington, DC, practice, depends primarily on the stage your condition has reached. Dr. Andrew Holzman offers Intacs®, cutting-edge corneal cross-linking, and corneal transplant treatments. Our practice is one of the few in the United States approved to provide cross-linking, a minimally invasive means of achieving improved corneal contours through the use of vitamin supplements and ultraviolet light. During a detailed examination, he can determine precisely the right treatment to meet your needs.

Keratoconus treatment is recommended based on the degree of protrusion the cornea has reached.

keratoconus versus healthy eye illustration

Glasses and Contacts

If you are experiencing the initial stages of keratoconus, Dr. Holzman may recommend the use of prescription glasses or soft contact lenses to improve focus. As the disease progresses, these may not be enough to counter the effects of the altered contour of the cornea. Custom soft contact lenses are specially designed to correct mild to moderate keratoconus. In order to provide the right lens for your needs, Dr. Holzman will take detailed measurements of your eyes and have the lenses customized to your eyes. These lenses may be more comfortable than gas-permeable lenses or hybrid contact lenses.

As leaders in keratoconus treatment, you can depend on Dr. Holzman and his team to determine the right approach to restoring your focus.

Once glasses or soft contact lenses are no longer sufficient, the next step is to try gas-permeable (GP) lenses. They have rigid lenses that reshape the cornea in order to correct the patient’s vision. A drawback to GP lenses is that they can be less comfortable to wear than soft lenses. GP lenses can also be difficult to fit onto the eyes. Sometimes Dr. Holzman recommends wearing GP lenses on top of soft contact lenses. This approach gives the patient more comfort as the soft lenses cushion the rigid lenses.


When patients with keratoconus can no longer achieve focus with glasses or contacts, Intacs® may be recommended. Intacs® are tiny plastic rings that are surgically placed just under the corneal surface. They work by reshaping the cornea to improve the patient’s vision. Some advantages of Intacs® are that they are removable and exchangeable, and they do not require removal of any corneal tissue.

Corneal Transplant

Advanced keratoconus may require a corneal transplant, also called a keratoplasty. During this procedure, part of the cornea is replaced with donor tissue. Corneal transplants are usually considered when other, more conservative options no longer provide the patient with functional vision. Even after receiving corneal transplants, however, most patients will still need corrective glasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly.

Corneal Cross-linking

Cross-linking is an alternative to corneal transplant surgery that is currently available in the European Union and is awaiting approval in the United States. With the approval of the Food and Drug Administration, our practice, in the meantime, is serving as a test site for cross-linking. This method uses ultraviolet light to create free radicals in the cornea, which strengthen and restore the cornea to its original shape. 

Call Our Office Today

As leaders in keratoconus treatment, you can depend on Dr. Holzman and his team to determine the right approach to restoring your focus. To learn more about which keratoconus treatment is right for you, please contact us today.

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 D.C. 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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Dr. Holzman is the best - very honest, very professional yet very friendly and personable. Ben E.

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