The Ferrara Ring is a minimally invasive surgical option designed to correct ectatic corneal diseases in order to reduce the corneal steepening, reduce the irregular astigmatism and improve the visual acuity. The Ferrara ring is a surgical alternative to at least delay, if not eliminate, the need of lamellar or penetrating keratoplasty.
Eyesight recovery is fast. The day after the surgery vision starts to get better and stabilizes after three months. During this first period of time, fluctuations in the sight happen. In the morning the patient sees well, but during the course of the day the sight may get a bit blurry. Since patients don’t undergo plastic surgery, prescription glasses or contact lenses could be needed to complete the correction. Meanwhile, eyesight can be good or slightly blurry.
What are the risks of the surgery?
There are very few risks. As with any other surgery, there may be an infection. In this case, the ring shall be removed. There is no risk of rejection from the body. The surgery does not damage or prevent a cornea transplant. The complications are minimal and, most important, reversible. This means the ring can be removed and the cornea recovers its original size.
How does the surgery happen?
The surgical procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure with the patient being awake. The eye is anaesthetised with anesthetic eye drops. At LaserVision, the channels are created using the Intralase Femtosecond laser for complete accuracy. The procedure is completely painless and it takes only 15 minutes. After the operation, a therapeutic contact lens is applied if required and is usually removed within 5 days. The use of antibiotic eye drops and anti-inflammatory allow a more conformable and safe postoperative period. After 3 days the patient can go back to his/hers usual activities.
Is the Ferrara Ring a substitute for a corneal transplant?
No. The basic goal of the Ferrara Ring is the sight rehabilitation. Meanwhile, the ring implant may delay the evolution of the disease, avoiding the need of a cornea transplant for an undetermined period of time.
Is there a risk of blurry sight after the surgery?
Most of the patients do not complain of night vision issues. Tests on night blindness and sensitivity of the eyes do not report such problem.
How many people need prescription glasses or contact lenses to achieve the complete vision correction?
Close to 30% of the patients who undergo surgery need contact lenses and 40% need prescription glasses.
Do the changes on the curve of the cornea after the ring implant prevent or cause difficulties in the use of contact lenses?
Since the cornea flattens after surgery, both in the centre and the periphery, the adaptation to contact lenses is better than before the operation.
When complications happen, what are the consequences for the patient?
Since the Ferrara Ring is a superficial implant, it can be removed and re-implanted. If the surgical procedure is not carried out properly, the operation can be repeated.
How often complications happen?
Complications are very rare. The index of ring removals is of as little as 4% after this type of surgery. An infection is the most serious complication the patient may face, and it may result on a cornea transplant. Fortunately, is seen as little as 0.08% of the times.
What other complications may the patient face?
Surgical technique related complications such as a superficial implant that could originate a self-extraction of the ring or a bad placement of the segments that could cause astigmatism are rarely seen. Patient behavior related complications might happen when rubbing the eyes, since the segments of the ring could move, self-extract or cause an infection.
Which are the advantages and disadvantages of the ring implant in contrast with the cornea transplant?
The advantages of ring are:
Fast recovery of the sight
The body does not reject the implant
If contact lenses are necessary, they adapt easily to the eye
The ring delays or even stops the disease for an undetermined period of time
What is the success rate for this surgical procedure? Is it different for every patient?
The success rate depends on the severity of the keracotone. The earlier the surgical procedure takes place, the more chances of success. Operations in the early stages are successful at a 95% rate.
Is the Ferrara ring also recommended for myopia?
The implant of the intra-corneal ring flattens and regularizes the cornea. Therefore, it corrects deformities such as myopia or astigmatism. The ring can also be used as complementary to techniques such as laser or phakic lenses, to correct high degrees of myopia.