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Treatment with Intacs® Corneal Implants

Intacs® on fingertipIf your prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are no longer providing effective correction of the vision impairment caused by keratoconus, you may be a good candidate for Intacs® corneal implants. Intacs®, placed at our practice serving McLean, Charlottesville, and Rockville, are synthetic support devices surgically placed beneath weakened corneas to help them resume their proper shape, thereby dramatically improving your vision. To learn more about how Intacs® can help you overcome the effects of keratoconus, please contact our practice today. If you are interested, we can also give you information about cross-linking, an exciting new treatment for keratoconus available only at a select few practices designated as test sites by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Placing Intacs®

The placement of Intacs® is a minimally invasive procedure. It begins with an anesthetic drop applied to the eye, which will be gently held open during the procedure with a speculum. A single incision is made in the surface of the cornea, and the inner layers of the cornea are gently separated to make room for the Intacs®. These corneal implants work in pairs, complementing each other to create a round support structure. Once both are in place, the corneal incision is closed. 

After your procedure, you will attend scheduled follow-up visits so that Dr. Holzman can monitor your healing and evaluate your results. More than 97 percent of Intacs® recipients achieve vision that permits them to drive safely and legally, and more than half achieve better than 20/20 eyesight. However, it is important to remember that you may still require glasses or contacts to experience the best possible vision.


Intacs® are a safe, successful solution offering benefits for many individuals suffering from keratoconus, but as with any surgical procedure, the treatment does involve some risks and side effects. These include infection, glare, halos, and blurry or fluctuating vision. 

Cross-Linking: An Exciting New Keratoconus Treatment

Our practice serving McLean, Charlottesville and Rockville is sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration as a test site for a cross-linking, a revolutionary new treatment for keratoconus. Rather than relying on a synthetic device such as Intacs®, cross-linking is a non-invasive, biological solution in which the weakened collagen fibers in the cornea are strengthened through the use of ultraviolet (UV) light. This treatment is already available in the European Union, where it is sometimes combined with Intacs® placement to restore vision in patients with pronounced needs. Cross-linking is awaiting final approval in the United States, but in the meantime, select practices across the country, including Dr. Holzman's practice, are offering the treatment to interested patients.

"This is an exciting, life-changing paradigm shift," Dr. Holzman says. "It may save thousands of corneal transplants per year. It is the most important advancement in the treatment of keratoconus, and we are excited to be a part of the trial."

The procedure begins with the application of anesthetic eye drops. The surface epithelial cells of the cornea are then gently removed, and riboflavin drops are applied to enhance the collagen strengthening effect and protect the rest of the eye from ultraviolet light exposure. For the next 3 to 8 minutes, the patient looks at a UV light. Finally, a soft contact lens is placed over the cornea, acting as a bandage. After five days, the lens is removed, and the patient uses antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops for two weeks after that.

Learn More about Cross-linking and Intacs®

If you are interested in finding out about the benefits of cross-linking treatment or Intacs®, and if you are a candidate, please contact our practice serving McLean, Charlottesville, and Rockville today.

MessageOur Staff

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

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We have 5 locations in throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

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McLean Office

7930 Jones Branch Dr
Ste 250
McLean, VA 22102

Open Today 9:00am - 5:00pm

More Info Directions (703) 556-9155

Rockville Office

11200 Rockville Pike
Ste 150
Rockville, MD 20852

Open Today 8:00am - 4:30pm

More Info Directions (301) 881-2021

Charlottesville Office

630 Peter Jefferson Pkwy
Ste 180
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Open Today 8:30am - 5:00pm

More Info Directions (434) 817-5275

Washington Office

1801 K St NW
Ste 500L
Washington, DC 20006

Open Today 8:00am - 4:30pm

More Info Directions (202) 785-2435