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Intacs – Keratoconus Treatment

Intacs are tiny, clear ring segments that are inserted into the cornea to provide stabilization and a more natural cornea curve. For patients who suffer from keratoconus, the quality of vision is distorted by a weakened cornea. Sometimes a corneal transplant is the only solution to correct this condition. However, by choosing the Intacs procedure, patients can delay the necessity of a corneal transplant, and improve the comfort of contact lens wear for those who are contact lens intolerant.

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Compared to cornea replacement, inserting Intacs is a less invasive treatment to correct the effects of keratoconus. After receiving Intacs, very few patients have to undergo a cornea transplant. However, even after having Intacs inserted, a cornea transplant can still be performed successfully if needed.


Keratoconus is a result of the eye’s natural pressure causing the weakened cornea to bulge forward into a cone-like shape.

This disease rarely results in total blindness, but the visual distortion caused by the irregular cornea can have debilitating effects. According to medical experts, 20 percent of keratoconus patients will have to undergo cornea replacement. While the cause of keratoconus is not known, genetics, as well as environmental factors, have been linked to the disease. It normally affects both eyes. However, the disease may not progress at the same speed in both eyes.

Rigid contact lenses can be used to stabilize the cornea. Unfortunately, for some patients, wearing lenses is uncomfortable. Plus, poorly fitting lenses can cause scarring, erosions and infection.

Due to the weakened cornea, most patients with keratoconus are not candidates for laser vision correction like LASIK or PRK which can further destabilize the cornea.

The Procedure

Before the procedure, anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye, which is held open throughout the procedure to prevent blinking. The procedure is painless, but pressure may still be felt, similarly to how a blood pressure cuff feels on your arm. First an incision is created on the cornea using a laser called the IntraLase femtosecond laser. The IntraLase provides an extra level of safety and precision to this step of the procedure. Then the Intacs inserts are gently placed. After both Intacs segments are in place, the small opening in the cornea is closed.

Follow-up visits will be required to monitor the healing process and evaluate the visual benefits of the procedure. It is important to consider that even after a successful procedure, glasses or contacts may be required to provide good vision.

Payment Options

Your insurance company may reimburse you for the Intacs procedure. We recommend that you contact your carrier to determine if you are covered. In some instances, the insurance company may have outdated policies on this advanced procedure. Eye Health Partners will be glad to submit a request for pre-authorization on your behalf.

Other payment options are also available including cash, check and credit card.

For more information on Intacs, please schedule a consultation or visit

The specialized teams at Eye Health Partners in Tennessee and VisionAmerica in Alabama provide a wide range of vision correction procedures. In addition to providing keratoconus treatment with Intacs, they also provide PRK treatment and LASIK surgery in Nashville, Birmingham, and and throughout the area.


We have various locations throughout Alabama and Tennessee. Select a state to locate an Eye Health Partners center near you!


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