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Keratoconus Specialist in Houston, TX

Keratoconus is a rare, progressive disease that affects the cornea, which is the clear, transparent layer at the front of the eye.

Meet Our Keratoconus Specialist in Houston, TX

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Dr. Kelsea Skidmore

Houston Optometrist

Dr. Kelsea Skidmore grew up in Greenville, TX. She attended the University of Arkansas and was a member of the Razorback swim team. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, a Master’s degree in Vision Science, and graduated summa cum laude with a Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Houston. Dr. Skidmore was a member of the Gold Key International Honor Society, and a member of the International Optometric Honor Society, Beta Sigma Kappa. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, as well as a Fellow of the Scleral Lens Education Society.

Dr. Skidmore is a therapeutic optometrist and optometric glaucoma specialist. She is trained in the medical management of a variety of ocular conditions including conditions such as glaucoma, dry eye disease, macular degeneration, and corneal disease. In addition to providing patient care at Family Vision Solutions, she also conducts clinical research studies at the University of Houston College of Optometry.

 

Dr. Skidmore offers comprehensive vision and medical eye exams for patients 6 months and older. She specializes in medically necessary contact lenses and challenging cases including keratoconus, post-LASIK complications, and irregular corneas. She is certified in corneal reshaping technology (CRT) as a non-surgical alternative to LASIK. New research is showing exciting support for CRT in slowing the progression of myopia (nearsightedness).

Dr. Skidmore is a member and active participant of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), Texas Optometric Association (TOA), and American Optometric Association (AOA).

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Dr. Karen Ebling

Houston Optometrist

Dr. Karen Ebling received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Austin. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Houston College of Optometry.

Dr. Karen joined the practice in 2000 when it was under the name Ebling Eye Care. She is the recipient of several awards including the Vistakon Award of Excellence in patient care. Previously part of a successful ophthalmology practice, Dr. Karen has extensive experience in ocular pathology and pre and post-surgical eye care.

Additionally, Dr. Karen served as Associate Professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry from 2000-2009. As a busy mother of three, she currently sees patients part-time with a concentration on comprehensive routine and medical eye care.

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Dr. Randy Charrier

Houston Optometrist

Aside from his career in the United States Navy, Dr. Charrier has lived in southeast Texas his whole life. He holds two bachelors degrees in Music and Biology and earned a Doctor of Optometry degree from the University of Houston. He is a Diplomate in the Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies section of the American Academy of Optometry, an earned distinction held by less than 1% of optometrists in the United States.

As a naval officer, Dr. Charrier served as Director of the Specialty Contact Lens Clinic at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, California. While there, he served military members and their families in comprehensive and medical eye care as well as fit medically necessary contact lenses on patients with eye disease or trauma from the battlefield.

Dr. Charrier’s experience in specialty contact lens fitting is truly impressive. During his time at the Naval Hospital, his success in treating highly complex patients caused his patient base to expand over nine states and the south pacific.

In his time at the Naval hospital, Dr. Charrier routinely treated patients suffering from war injuries, traumatic brain injuries and corneal diseases. Furthermore, he served as an optometrist to our nation’s elite warfighters and pilots including SEALS and the famous Blue Angels.

In his career, Dr. Charrier has treated thousands of complicated patients and continues to have one of the largest specialty contact lens practices in the country.

Since leaving the Navy, Dr. Charrier has become an important referral source for Houston area optometrists and ophthalmologists in helping complicated patients see clearly and comfortably.

Additionally, Dr. Charrier served as faculty to the ophthalmology department providing lectures on optics and contact lenses as well as clinical rotations for the residents. Dr. Charrier was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his work with the residents. He served as a voting member of the Naval Medical Center’s Executive Committee of the Medical Staff and was selected as Division Officer for the Optometry Department.

Dr. Charrier has obtained Fellowship status in the American Academy of Optometry and has held Associate Professor positions in optometry at Southern California College of Optometry, Pacific University, and currently at the University of Houston College of Optometry. As such, it is common to see residents and interns training at the practice with Dr. Charrier.

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • American Academy of Optometry
  • American Optometric Association
  • Armed Forces Optometric Society
  • Texas Optometry Association

Our Doctor Can Diagnosis and Treat Keratoconus

Your cornea is the transparent, outer lens of your eye, and it typically has a smooth dome shape. Keratoconus describes a condition in which the corneal structure isn’t strong enough to maintain a healthy ball shape.

Meet with our Keratoconus Specialist in Houston, TX to define your eye's condition and ways for treatment.

As a result, the cornea bulges outward into more of a cone. Our professional optometric team at our eye care clinic is knowledgeable about how to diagnose and treat keratoconus.

Keratoconus is rare, with an estimated one person out of every 2,000 having the condition. It generally appears in the teenage years and can progress slowly or rapidly.

Keratoconus also runs in families, so if you or your children are at risk, it’s advised to contact us for a thorough eye exam.

Causes of Keratoconus

Your cornea is held in place by very small collagen fibers. When they are weakened and too fragile, they aren’t able to preserve the round shape of your cornea.

A reduction in the protective antioxidants of your cornea, which act to destroy damaging by-products made naturally by corneal cells, is what causes keratoconus.

In addition to genetics, some types of eye injuries may increase your chance of being diagnosed with keratoconus.

Specific ocular diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa, vernal keratoconjunctivitis and retinopathy of prematurity, as well as some systemic conditions (Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Leber's congenital amaurosis and osteogenesis imperfecta) are also associated with this corneal abnormality.

Our Keratoconus Specialist in Houston, TX has years of experience identifying the various levels of keratoconus and other corneal conditions.

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Symptoms of Keratoconus

When the shape of your cornea begins to bulge, it alters your eyesight in two different ways. As the cone shape forms, your normally smooth corneal surface becomes wavy, called irregular astigmatism. Additionally, as your cornea expands, vision becomes increasingly nearsighted. Focusing becomes impossible without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Usually, the problems begin in one eye and develop later in the other eye too.

Typically, patient’s eyeglass prescription will change often as the vision becomes worse and contact lenses will be difficult to wear due to discomfort and improper fit.

When keratoconus become more severe (which usually takes a long time however on occasion can happen rather quickly), the cornea can begin to swell and form scar tissue. This scar tissue can result in even further visual distortion and blurred vision.

Altogether, these changes can create the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Streaking of lights
  • Halos around bright lights at night; glare
  • Sudden change of vision in only one eye
  • Objects appear distorted, both near and distant
  • Double vision from just one eye
  • Triple ghost images

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How We Diagnose Keratoconus

Our eye doctors will inspect carefully for the signs of keratoconus during your comprehensive eye exam. It’s critical to inform us of any symptoms that you’ve been experiencing. To diagnose the condition, we’ll measure the shape of your cornea. Computerized Corneal Topography is used for this procedure, which takes a picture of your cornea and analyzes it instantly.

Treatment for Keratoconus

The first line of treatment is usually new prescription eyeglasses. If this solution doesn’t help you achieve good vision, then contact lenses will be tried. Rigid, gas permeable lenses are typically prescribed.

As the disease progresses, however, glasses and soft contact lenses may no longer correct vision and soft lenses may become uncomfortable. This is when other forms of vision correction will be recommended.

Gas Permeable and Scleral Contact Lenses

At the more advanced stage of keratoconus rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, scleral or semi-scleral lenses may be used for increased comfort and visual acuity. Since they are more rigid, RGP and scleral lenses are able to create a smooth, round shape around the cornea, creating a smoother surface for better vision.

Scleral or semi-scleral lenses have a larger diameter which covers the entire cornea and reaches over into the white part of the eye, which is known as the sclera.

Many patients find these more comfortable than regular RGPs and find that they move around less when the eyes move. The main disadvantage of these rigid lenses is that for some, they are somewhat less comfortable than soft lenses and they must be continually refitted as the shape of the eye changes.

Whether it is glasses or contact lenses being used to correct vision, patients will likely have to undergo many tests and prescription changes as their vision needs to change.

Intacs

Intacs are small, surgically implanted plastic inserts which are placed on the cornea to flatten it back to shape. Usually they are able to restore clear vision, with the continued use of glasses. Intacs are often recommended when contact lenses and eyeglasses are no longer able to correct vision adequately. Intacs take about 10 minutes to insert and can delay the need for corneal transplant.

PTK for severe keratoconus

Severe keratoconus may lead to extreme scarring, due to overstretched collagen fibers. If the back of your corneas tears as a result, swelling may occur. It can take months for the swelling to go down, and a large scar is generally created. PTK, a specialized procedure, can smooth out this scar, thereby enhancing contact lens comfort.

Cornea collagen crosslinking

Cornea collagen crosslinking is another therapy that has shown to be effective in slowing the progression of keratoconus. An alternate remedy is called intacs, which are semicircular implants inserted under the surface of the cornea to flatten the bulging cone shape and give better vision.

Cornea Transplant

As a last resort, a cornea transplant may be performed. During this procedure, the center of your cornea will be removed and replaced with a donor cornea. The new cornea is stitched into place, and you’ll need to wear contact lenses for adequate vision after the surgery.

Dangers of LASIK and Keratoconus

LASIK can potentially weaken the cornea of anyone who suffers from keratoconus, making it a dangerous procedure. If this happens, your vision will become substantially worse. Even if your keratoconus is mild, LASIK is not an option.

Our Keratoconus Specialist in Houston, TX is happy to meet with you for a 1-on-1 consultation to get you back on the path to reaching clear vision.

Meet with Our Keratoconus Specialist in Houston, TX