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IKA 2024: Symposium takeaways include technological advancements and early diagnosis


Shelley Cutler, OD, FAAO, comments on technological advancements leading to the progression of keratoconus diagnosis and treatment options during this year's IKA symposium.

Shelley Cutler, OD, FAAO, gives an overview of how keratoconus diagnosis and treatment over the past 40 years and key takeaway from the International Keratoconus Academy Keratoconus Symposium, which took place in Bethesda, Maryland on May 18 and 19.

Video Transcript

Editor’s note - The following transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Shelley Cutler, OD, FAAO:

Hi, my name is Dr. Shelley Cutler. I'm an optometrist located in the Philadelphia area. I graduated optometry school in the early 1980s and went immediately into specialty lens care. So I've been fitting keratoconic patients for a very long time. And it's been fascinating watching the change in technology over, can I say over the decades, because that's what it's been. And so here we are now in 2024, at the IKA conference and it's just wonderful learning about the advanced technology, a lot of it, which I use already, because I personally do work in a university setting. And things happen so quickly in our field, and being able to apply it and help our patients see better, be more comfortable function[ing] in the real world. It's just really a pleasure to watch. We just continue to learn things and what I've learned today, it'll probably change next year. So I really encourage anyone who's interested in keratoconus and helping their patients and of course, the biggest take-home is get them young, because younger patients progress faster, and we now have a way to treat them to prevent the progression. That didn't exist when I started. And so it was a shame; we helped these people see but there was nothing we could do to curtail their progression. And you know, watching some of these patients go from teenager to corneal grafts over the decades. It was just a shame now, we don't have to do that.

At this stage of my life, I am not doing routine eye care. So I'm a tertiary level provider so I get them when they have diagnosed keratoconus, but with those who are doing basic care, you know, always question the family. I know any keratoconus patients I'm taking care of now, I'm asking about their siblings, their children, their grandchildren, making sure they get screened. They usually will ask me, "Well, how do I do that?" And basically, they need to be in the hands of someone who has a Pentacam to be able to evaluate what's going on not at the front surface, but also the back surface of the cornea. Because we learned today from Dr. Belin, who designed a lot of the Pentacam software, if not all of it, that disease starts in the back and we can detect progression in the back surface of the cornea before it even happens at the front surface. So can we prevent them from even losing 20/20 vision? That would be amazing.

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