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Keratoconus Specialist in Conroe, 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 Conroe, TX

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Bailey Terhune, O.D.

Optometrist

Dr. Terhune graduated Abilene Christian University in 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology, and a minor in Biochemistry and Bible. She graduated her undergraduate studies with Honors and Magna Cum Laude. She went on to study at the University of Houston College of Optometry and graduated in May 2018.

She had an externship position at Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry in summer 2017, and at the Community Eye Care in Fort Worth, Texas in fall 2017. She did her clinical rotations at the University of Houston College of Optometry in the family practice clinic, general ocular diagnostic/medical clinic, ASC surgery center: post-op care, low vision clinic, specialty contact lens care, specialty pediatrics, vision therapy clinic, and the dry eye clinic.

Throughout her college years, she worked as a technician at Advanced Eyecare in Abilene, Texas, and at Vision Optique in Houston, Texas.

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Bonnie Bloom, O.D.

Optometrist

Dr. Bonnie Bloom received a Bachelors of Science degree from Indiana University and her Doctorate of Optometry from Indiana University School of Optometry in 1984. She completed an internship at Baylor Hospital, specializing in cataract patient care, and completed post-graduate study in the treatment and management of ocular disease. She has served as a clinical investigator for contact lens manufacturers, evaluating new lens materials, designs and solutions.

Dr. Bloom’s specialties include hard-to-fit contact lens patients, management of dry eyes, diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease, and the co-management of laser refractive surgery. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Virginia Optometric Association and the Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society.

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Reagan O’Rear, O.D.

Optometrist

Dr. Reagan O'Rear received her Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University and a Doctorate of Optometry from the University of Houston College of Optometry. She has been in practice in the North Houston area for over seven years. She is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Texas Optometric Association.

Doctor O'Rear lives in Montgomery with her children Alex, Grace, and Michael. They attend Fellowship of Montgomery Church.

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David Awalt, O.D.

Optometrist

Dr. David Awalt graduated in 1990 with honors from the University of Houston College of Optometry. In 1991, Dr. Awalt went into private practice in Conroe and combined practices with Dr. Boeckman in 1994. Dr. Awalt and his wife Mary Carol have one son, Matthew. They live in the Conroe area and are members of First Presbytarian Church of Conroe. If not in the office, you can find this 6th generation Texan outdoors playing golf or fishing.

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David Boeckman, O.D.

Optometrist

Dr. David Boeckman graduated from the University of Houston College of Optometry in 1982. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Kentucky and the University of Houston, He established his private practice in Conroe in 1982.

Dr. Boeckman was asked to be a vision consultant for the Texas Department of Corrections and worked in that capacity from 1985 until 1992. He served as a clinical investigator for Ciba Vision Care and is currently a lecturer for Johnson and Johnson and their family of Acuvue products. He has served as an adjunct faculty for the UH College of Optometry in their externship program for fourth year students. A previous Board member of Benevolent Missions Intl and the Conroe Noon Lions club, he was voted Best Eye Doctor in Montgomery County by the readers of the Courier for 5 years including 2017.

Dr Boeckman is passionate about eyecare innovations, but his greatest satisfaction in delivering eyecare has come from the many eye missions that he has the privilege to join. He has treated thousands of patients in Fiji, El Salvador, Belize and Bolivia. Dr Boeckman and his wife Kathy have three children and welcomed their first grand child recently. The staff requests that in the interest of time, please refrain from mentioning UK basketball, guitars /mandolins, or mountain biking at your exam.

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 Conroe, 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 Conroe, 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 Conroe, 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 Conroe, TX