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Light at the end of the tunnel for patients suffering Keratoconus.

A novel treatment that utilizes a certain dose of light and vitamin B2, promises to be an eye opener to nearly tens and thousands of Australians. // It is well known that almost 10,000 Australians suffer a degenerative disease of the eyes, called keratoconus, which can ultimately lead to blindness.

The envisaged treatment will entail application of drops of riboflavin (vitamin B2) after the “skin” of the eye is removed, and allow the UVA light to fall on the eye, which will strengthen the cornea. This treatment will not improve the eyesight but it will certainly arrest further degeneration and even prevent blindness.

A trial of this treatment procedure, due to commence at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, will be sponsored by the state government. The trial will be led by Christine Wittig, who had started off the procedure initially and has been offering this service in Germany over the past five years. According to her, the success rate is nearly 100% with no apparent long term complications.

Nearly 100 patients will participate in a randomized trial after which the hospital has indicated the availability of the procedure to patients next year. Corneal transplants, are infamous due to their long waiting period, next only to kidney transplants, and with the new treatment, some of the pressure of long waiting periods will certainly ease off. It is estimated that nearly 300 corneal transplants take place in Victoria each year, and 50% of these transplants are for patients with keratoconus.


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