You should have regular examinations on your eye from the time you’re a child and on up because if they catch things earlier on then [ophthalmologists] can usually slow it down, stop it or correct it before it gets to the point of no return…You only have one set of eyes.”

– Jimmy Conklin, age 63

For over 40 years, Jimmy learned to live with and manage his progressive keratoconus using a contact lens. At the time, this was the only available treatment option for keratoconus aside from a corneal transplant. However, his contact lens was only treating the symptoms of his keratoconus, and not the underlying cause. As his keratoconus continued to progress and negatively impact his life, potentially needing corneal transplant became a concern. 

If left untreated, as many as 1 in 5 patients with progressive keratoconus may require a corneal transplant, with more than half needing multiple transplants within 20 years. *1, *2  As someone who is also living with rheumatoid arthritis and is immunocompromised, Jimmy knew a corneal transplant would be a risky option that he wanted to avoid if possible. 

During a routine check-up, his doctor, Dr. Ira A. Shivitz of Cornea Consultants of Nashville, recommended that Jimmy receive iLink FDA-approved cross-linking to slow or halt the progression of his keratoconus. Not wanting his condition to progress further, Jimmy received iLink FDA-approved cross-linking on his left eye in the summer of 2020 and it was covered by his insurance. Jimmy was also eligible for the Living with Keratoconus Patient Support Program and received $100 toward his cross-linking co-pay expenses. Now, Jimmy has been fitted with a contact lens. He’s hopeful that his condition will stop progressing and he will not need a corneal transplant in the future. 

Jimmy and Dr. Shivitz recently spoke to The Tennessean to discuss their experiences with progressive keratoconus and iLink FDA-approved cross-linking. You can read the full article here

For more information on keratoconus and iLink FDA-approved cross-linking, or to read more Keratoconus Journeys like Jimmy’s, follow Living with KC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Find a Cross-Linking Expert Near You

Search the directory to locate a cross-linking expert who is familiar with treating progressive keratoconus.

The results described on this site are based on data collected regarding short- and intermediate-term efficacy of treatment. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.

1 Pramanik S, Musch DC, Sutphin JE, Farjo AA. Extended long-term outcomes of penetrating keratoplasty for keratoconus. Ophthalmology 2006;113(9):1633-8.
2 Maharana PK, Agarwal K, Jhanji V, Vajpayee RB. Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty for keratoconus: a review. Eye Contact Lens 2014;40(6):382-9.

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