Keratoconus and the various treatment options

Since I have been living with this disease for some time I have actually performed a lot of research into all of the treatment options available. Now, some of these treatment options are not fully FDA approved, but they have been tested for many years and they are generally considered safe. Of course you should use common sense here and not rely on the advice of any blogger, always seek out the opinion of someone who is experienced and even seek out the opinion of two experienced surgeons to get the best advice possible.

Early stage treatment of Keratoconus

The first stage is really nothing major; you can treat this disease with glasses. For many people this can work for years. In fact it was not until recently was I forced to wear contact lenses to treat this condition. Now since the cornea is misshaped you will eventually not be able to see much at all with your glasses, then you go into the second stage of treatment.

You can go for several decades using this treatment option, so if you are just diagnosed with this disease you have a lot of time to figure out your next course of action and how you may want to proceed. As well since the advancements in treating Keratoconus are becoming quite rapid you may experience a longer lasting option then those previously. The best thing I can say to you is to not give up hope.

Second stage treatment

The second stage is potentially made of two options, since the advancements in soft contact lenses it is now possible to use soft contacts for a longer period of time. Getting fit with a custom fit contact lens is going to take some time, however, it will be worth it in the long run.

You can go with the soft contact route to start, and for many this may be the best way to go, or the hard gas permeable lenses. The benefit of using a soft contact lens to begin with is that you should be able to wear these lenses for a longer period of time and they should not cause a lot of issues when you wear them for a long period of time.

Soft contacts are generally safer to use as they will not cause a lot of irritation and because they can be custom made for each eye you should be able to see clearer than with a rigid lens. While you still should not sleep in these lenses it may be possible to do so in the future.

Finally, once you have exhausted the soft contact lens route you can then move on to the hard or glass permeable lenses. These lenses are the “gold standard” of treating Keracontonus. For many people, including myself, the prescription of Jupiter RGP lenses has saved the sight of many people who would otherwise go blind.

The drawback of using an RGP lens however is the overall comfort for long periods of time. As well the care and upkeep of these lenses can be a bit of a pain. Fortunately, you won’t need to dispose of these lenses for roughly two years if your prescription has not changed.

Another drawback of the Jupiter RGP lenses is the overall cost of buying these. Getting fitted with a custom lens is going to take some time, and that time is going to be valuable to any optometrist. This is not just like buying a contact lens from Wal-Mart or something; it takes a lot of effort to get it done the right way so you have the ability to see.

Some of the more aggressive treatment options

Finally, now I am going to discuss some of the more aggressive treatment options. Some of these treatments are not yet approved by the FDA and as such the amount various Doctor’s charge for them varies so it may be helpful to shop around.

Cornea Cross Linking is a treatment option that is undergoing clinical trials in the United States at this time. Essentially what happens is that your top layer of your cornea is peeled back and then drops of riboflavin are dropped into the eye. Once these drops have been placed onto the affected area of the cornea it is then subjected to a low dosage of ultra-violet radiation to cause a cross linking effect. This cross linking effect supposedly flattens the cornea and strengthens it for the future.

Cross linking is not approved by the FDA because there really have not been any guidelines or best practices on how many drops to apply or the level of radiation to give to any patient. Basically, there is not enough information to really give the best end result for the patient and that is why it is not approved yet. So if you feel comfortable undergoing a procedure that may or may not work then I say give it a shot.

Another treatment option that can be combined with cross linking is the use of intac cornea rings. These rings are just as you would imagine, they are small rings that can be tolerated by the body that go into the cornea and flatten out the bulge that causes the problems with all Keracontonus patients. By using cross linking in combination with the intac procedure many people have reported significant vision improvement.

The final stage of Keratoconus

The final stage and the only treatment option available is a full blown cornea transplant. The reason why this should be considered the absolute last resort is that once this procedure has been done it cannot be reversed. Put simply you cannot undo this procedure and as such you should really consider that.

Now there are various types of transplants that can be used. The severity of your condition would dictate if you require a full blown transplant or a partial graft transplant, the benefit of using a partial graft is that you are given a shorter time frame for recovery.

The typical time to recover fully from this procedure is anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Clearly, this can take a lot of time to get over and heal properly. You will be restricted in what you can do and for many people those restrictions will put a serious damper on the lifestyle you have become accustomed to.

Would this mean the end of your life as you know it? Probably not but for one year you will have to treat your affected eye as though it was the most fragile and most valuable part of your body.

Overcoming this disease just takes time, clearly not everyone is ready for hearing the news of being diagnosed with this disease. You can find some good resources in your local town by searching the Internet and if you have a Department of Blind services then I highly recommend you contact them as they will have access to a lot more information then I could give you.

Common Supplement Ingredients and what they do

If you are into losing weight, gaining muscle, or just being overall fit in your life you are probably going to need some supplementation at some point. While many people do advocate clean eating from whole food sources, and this is something I endorse as well, there is simply going to be a need for some additional help regardless of how clean you are eating.

Basically, the food sources today are not as good as they were in the past due to pesticides, herbicides, and other harmful substances. As well many people, through a poor diet, have effectively killed their good bacteria in their lower intestine making the digestive tract not nearly as effective as it once was in the past.

So if you intend to perform at your absolute best then it is important to get an education of what you are putting into your body at a regular basis. With that knowledge you can be a far more educated consumer and avoid some of the scams that seem to occur regularly with many supplement companies.

Consuming a diet that will aid in helping your lower intestine obtain the good bacteria it needs should be one of the first priorities if you are intending to lose weight or just become healthier again. To do this would not take a whole lot of work just a lot of fiber and a regular consumption of bioactive foods.

Since I did mention that you should become educated in what you are eating below you find a listing of some of the more common ingredients you will find in many supplements. Some of the ingredients you may find have little to no scientific basis and are used more of a marketing ploy to get you to buy their powder or supplement.

Dextrose – This ingredient is basically sugar, and your body does produce this naturally. However, you should be careful the total amount of sugar you are taking in your diet each day. Too much sugar can cause metabolic imbalances and thereby put you at risk for type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Many medicines, supplements, and other food sources contain dextrose as an ingredient. It is easily absorbed in the body and is used to help many medicines become metabolized in the body.

Whey Protein Concentrate – Supplementing your body with extra protein is crucial in order to maintain and build muscle mass. Protein is what your body thrives on when you are in a catabolic or muscle tearing stage. If you don’t break your muscles down they cannot build back up. In order for you to build up your muscle, and become stronger, and bigger, you need various protein sources.

Since whey protein is derived from milk sources this should be avoided if you are lactose intolerant. Alternatively if you can find a protein source from either rice, or other grains then you should be able to absorb that supplement. Another reason why you may not want to take this supplement if it has this ingredient is because you are a vegan; this would conflict with any vegan lifestyle.

Natural Orange Flavors – This is a flavor enhancer, you may see it as other natural fruit flavors. It is perfectly safe and is supposed to cover up some of the more medicinal tasting ingredients and make the drink mixture more palatable.

While many articles bemoan the practice of using natural oils and flavorings the essence of these ingredients come from whole food sources. As long as you are not consuming an inordinate amount of anything flavored with these substances you should be just fine. It turns out that even orange juice; even those brands that claim freshly squeezed use natural flavor enhancements in order to maintain the flavor.

There is a lot of clinical evidence that does seem to support this ingredient is safe. Just think of the many millions of people who wake up each morning and have a glass of orange juice, they seem to be doing just fine.

Citric Acid – This is used to preserve the flavor of foods and drinks. If you are drinking a supplement, probably a pre-workout drink, then you will see this ingredient listed. For many years this has been used to help flavor and preserve food. Typically, you will see that this is a white powder in its most basic form, so if you are using any sort of powdered drink then this very well may be part of the base for that drink.

Those that are allergic to orange juice or other fruit juices should avoid consuming this ingredient. There are alternatives, but not many. The whole supplementation industry uses this as one of its staple ingredients.

Carrageenan Gum – This ingredient helps to gel or make the other ingredients more stable, essentially this is a binder in any powdered drink. You can even find this on some of the shelves in the natural food stores; this is an alternative cooking ingredient for those that suffer from lower intestinal issues such as crones’ disease.

Currently this ingredient is one you can find globally, and that is not said often in any of the supplementation industry. Since this has undergone many years of clinical studies it is pretty safe to use and can be consumed on a regular basis by most people with little to no side effects.

Creatine Monohydrate – Creatine is a substance you will see in many supplements. In fact the monohydrate version is one that you can buy on its own and add to your own special blend in the morning or whenever you workout. The purpose of using Creatine is to help supply the body’s cells with energy from fat. Creatine occurs naturally in the body and is found often in the spinal cord as well as around many nerve endings.

The body does produce this naturally from our food and from various amino acids such as L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. Most of the Creatine found in the body can be produced from natural whole food sources, particularly red meat or even poultry. If you are vegan however you may be lacking in these amino acids so it may be beneficial to add this supplement to your diet to ensure proper muscle growth.

Some precautions should be known before consuming this supplement. With continual usage you can get some kidney damage, and if you already have kidney damage then this should be avoided outright. Many times these adverse effects are caused by consuming 2 to 3 times the amount the body would normally absorb during the day. To avoid any long term effects then it would be advised to cycle the use of this supplement and also to keep watch on any blood work for elevated signs of liver or kidney damage.

Tartaric acid – You can find this ingredient in many supplements. Typically this is used to help with the overall flavor profile. In fact you can add this to wine if for some reason the fermentation has caused the wine to go flat in flavor for some reason. In combination with some of the other ingredients listed you can see that the biochemists use this as a balancing ingredient in order to make the drink or supplement better tasting.

Without the addition of this ingredient you may find that any supplement you take would be like drinking down a glass full of chalk or some sort or poor tasting vomit inducing powder.

Lecithin – This is used as an emulsifier or an ingredient that would cause any powdery drink to be fuller in flavor. Since this ingredient is fully metabolized it is very safe to use and consume and has been in many foods for several decades if not longer.

Magnesium Oxide – This is used commonly as an antacid so it may be used to help you actually tolerate some of the other ingredients in the supplement. There have been cases with several drinks that in the initial testing phases the resulting effects were so bad that medical attention had to be called. So, if you have a weak stomach this can be used to help you absorb some of the other ingredients without feeling so bloated and sick.

Lohan Fruit Extract – This is a natural flavor enhancer. Essentially it is supposed to help whatever supplement you have taste sweeter and become more palatable. Combined with some of the other ingredients this fruit extract aids in the overall digestion of the drink or supplement.

Stevia Extract – Stevia is a naturally occurring sugar substitute and its extract has been used to give a sweet flavor without adding extra calories. Since this is a naturally occurring supplement you may find that it is easily absorbed by the body and does not cause any adverse side effects, at least nothing of major concern.

Silicon Dioxide – This is a preservative ingredient. Basically it helps keep all of the other ingredients from drying out and becoming tasteless and useless. You could consider this to be sand, in fact it is called sand by many chemists and rightfully so. Perfectly safe to eat or drink and nothing to be worried about.

Acesulfame Potassium – This is a calorie free sweetener that has been used for many years. While some have claimed it can lead to cancer the evidence to support this is dubious at best for the moment. Having been on the market for 15 years the long term effects of this ingredient have yet to be discovered. Your body does not absorb this ingredient and it quickly excretes it out in the urine, but some claim that some of this remains in the cells of your colon and lower intestines.

Beta Alanine – It has been said that this can help you power through your workouts. The claim is that this will help you get more energy in order to perform better at high intensity exercises or routines. This is a naturally occurring amino acid that attaches to Histidine which is claimed to give your muscles more energy in order to perform better.

You will experience a tingling feeling, at least most experience this, and that is completely natural. In fact many pre-workout supplements have this ingredient; if they don’t, then you can buy it separately to give you that extra boost.

Creatine Nitrate – This is another version of creatine mentioned above. While some may claim that the nitrate version is better there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim. It very well could be a better version compared to the monohydrate version but there has not been any studies to tell one way or the other.

Arginine AKG – You will find arginine AKG along with creatine nitrate in many cases. The reason being is that this is claimed to help metabolize creatine nitrate. Again there is no proof of any benefit from using creatine nitrate or arginine akg so be wary of any claims of performance gains.

Niacin – This is a naturally occurring substance that our body needs. The benefit of consuming this ingredient is that it has been clinically proven to help lower cholesterol, at least the LDL. You may experience some flushing in the face and feel warm after you consume this substance. It’s not uncommon to experience some sweating roughly 45 minutes after you eat this supplement.

There are some types of niacin you can have that will not because you to sweat and be more flush in the face, and many times you will find that whatever supplement you have may use that version. After all you don’t want to continually explain to others why you may be sweating.

Just a brief list of some of the more common ingredients

The list above is just a brief list of some of the more common ingredients you will find in many supplements. Of course each one of these ingredients could merit an article on its own, and I may very well do that in the future. However, just keep in mind that you should only consume a supplement when you know you have your diet in check and you just want that extra boost.

Working out intensely can be exhausting for your body, which is why you should get enough rest and eat well. Doing otherwise will greatly hinder your results and thereby cause you to go back into your bad habits again and not experience any of the health benefits that a daily exercise habit can give you.

High Intensity Interval Training – An overview

High intensity interval training is becoming very popular these days. With so many people striving to be fit yet not having hours in the gym to workout there is a need to get a lot done in a short amount of time. As you can imagine since this is called high intensity training that this involves very short yet difficult workouts.

Now intensity is relative to each person. What would make a routine intense for me would be entirely different for something that would work for you. If you have a lot of weight to lose then you may find some of the most basic routines to be intense enough to help you feel like you accomplished a lot.

These routines are short. Typically you should not spend any more than 30 minutes doing a HIIT workout. There may be times when it would be appropriate to spend more than 30 minutes but overall you should strive for your workouts to be brief.

The reasons why people lose fat with HIIT

The body responds to the intensity of your exercises it turns out. While there may be people in the world that can walk for many hours at a time and lose weight it is far more effective to stimulate a real environment which means varied intensity and varied exercises daily.

Clearly your goal when working out is to lose fat, some also may want to gain muscle at the same time. A high intensity routine will help with both aspects and that ultimately is what is going to help you get leaner and fitter than ever before.

HIIT routines simply cause your metabolism to speed up. You see the body has to react to such a high intense program that you are giving it and this in turn will cause you to lose body fat.

Using Free Weights or Body Weight Exercises

When you begin this journey of using HIIT workouts it may be advisable to start off just using your body weight to begin with. If you feel you need to use weights then something light would be best. Always start off slowly or gradually because you are far more likely to get injured otherwise.

You may see others who use different methods to add resistance to their HIIT workouts. For instance introduced many to this concept of training for a short period but with a high intensity and you will see many of the people on those video’s use a sandbag or some other unique devices.

HIIT Training on the Treadmill

Many people don’t consider the treadmill a piece of exercise equipment associated with HIIT routines. However, you can easily create some by using varying speeds and inclines to create a workout that would challenge even the fittest among you.

As well there is this perceived need to always go in one direction with the treadmill. You don’t have to do that, you could walk or run backwards on the machine, as well you could even walk sideways if you so desired. Of course it would be best if you were very comfortable using this treadmill and knew what you were doing.

If  you are unfamiliar with HIIT on the treadmill then it may be best to consult with a trainer or a friend who knows what they are doing. By getting the proper instructions you should be able to avoid any potential problems.

Perceived Exertion Scale

When discussing HIIT you will run into something called the perceived exertion scale. This scale is something that varies from person to person and as you become more physically fit you will also have to adjust your own scale so as to keep up the intensity to get the desired results.

Obviously someone who is a couple hundred pounds overweight will find that they are exerting a lot of energy even with little movement because their body is so out of shape. Monitoring your heart rate throughout the time you are exercising is crucial, you don’t want to over do it and cause damage to your heart.

Using a timer to help with the intervals

You can buy a GymBoss timer to help you with the intervals in your training. The benefits of using a GymBoss are that it can be set up to give you short moments of rest in between each set of exercises. These little devices are not that expensive and they are crucial to your overall success if you are planning on performing HIIT routines regularly.

Where can you find HIIT routines?

There are many free routines for this type of exercising on and as well there are others who are contributing to this movement by also adding their own interval routines. Not only that but you can find various DVD programs from companies like BeachBody that can add to the variety. Les Mills Combat is a great example of a DVD set that contains a lot of HIIT routines that are fun and relatively short.

My struggle with Keratoconus

Many people who know me understand that I suffer from a somewhat rare eye condition called Keratoconus. While somewhat rare this condition can lead to blindness. It is just fact, you have to understand and deal with the worst case scenario here, doing otherwise is just showing a lack of maturity.

For myself, I have been advised by three separate cornea specialist that a transplant in my left eye is truly the only way to go forward. Now, while I struggle with the ultimate decision to go through with this surgery if I should happen to do that I will then record what happens here on this blog.

As well, there are not that many resources for people who may be interested in weight lifting, or other intense exercising such as Crossfit and dealing with a corneal transplant. Since there are so few resources available, then I will attempt to record what I am able to do after the surgery. It is my understanding that the healing time could take up to one year for the eye to fully heal.

Now that does seem like a long time, but I am sure after a while I will be less and less restricted so it may not seem that bad. There are other’s who have had this surgery before and unfortunately never really made a true account of what happened, that is a shame because that would have been a great resource for many other’s.

As bad as this disease may be I am fortunate enough to be living in a country where there are experienced surgeons who can handle this situation. While the technology to help with this particular ailment is always improving it is astonishing to me that there is yet to be a cure for this disease. Some of the solutions are a bit primitive in my eyes and just don’t seem to really get to the root of the problem.

Today I spent the morning searching various forums and websites for people who may be in the same situation, unfortunately there are not that many. So hopefully my blog can act as an aid for those who also struggle with this disease.

My “Little House on the Prairie” Project

For those that know me I grew up in Minnesota. As well I recently discovered this new obsession with “Tiny Homes” or homes that are roughly 200 sq. ft. or sometimes less. These homes have several advantages, they are mobile, they are cheap, they can be built by one person over the course of several months, and they don’t have a large environmental footprint.

Since I always wanted to have a home again in Minnesota I have made it a mission to buy or build one of these tiny homes and make it my getaway home or vacation home. I have deemed to call this my “Little House on the Prairie Project” and I will record my findings on this blog as I endeavor to buy or build a home that fits the bill.

Tiny homes are exactly what any environmentally conscious person would desire. You can easily power them by one or two large solar panel cells and if you use a composting toilet then you could be off the grid completely. Since these homes are so small you should not require a mortgage to buy one, I certainly will not take a mortgage out to purchase mine.

Now, this may seem to be a bit of an odd mission or quest as others always strive for larger homes and bigger cars but I have been always a bit different from others. In time, though these tiny homes may just be the wave of the future. I mean with the housing bubble and all that came with it there are many families that simply cannot afford to buy a home outright anymore. Who wants to be beholden to any bank or lender? The thought of any home being taken from me is what keeps me up at night.

Furthermore, this project may lend allow me to live more independently from the grid and be more likely to survive any major issue should the crap hit the fan. While I don’t want or predict any major issue in the future it would be stupid to not at least plan for the worst case scenario.

There are many lessons that I have yet to put into place after reading Neil Strauss book called Emergency. This tiny home project may just be a catalyst to get going on that project.

So if you are interested in buying a home without a mortgage then this series may just be the ticket for you. There are numerous advantages to not having a mortgage, namely a lower cost of living and no worry about losing your home in the future.

Please stay tuned as I gear up for this project.

Upcoming posts

Okay so now that I have restarted by my blog I wanted to let you know what is coming along so that you may know and hopefully let other’s know.

Book Reviews:

  • Getting Things Done
  • The Four Hour Body
  • Unleash the Giant Within
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Health and Fitness Articles:

More articles on why we get fat, various fitness products reviewed, and some general news if something major should come up.


  • Review of the Razor Naga mouse (possible??)
  • Review of Google Glass (if I am able to get one??)
  • Other reviews of anything that interests me

Anyways this is just a short post but some ideas that I have been floating around in my head and some articles I have already started so they should be on the way.

Food Journals – Why use them?

Food journals are a great tool to help you lose weight or help you with any athletic goal you may have. These are used frequently by the most successful athletes and those who have dropped their body fat percentage rapidly. Once you can see how the food you are eating is affecting your health and your performance then it should be fairly easy to make the changes you need.

Why Recording Your Food Keeps You Accountable

Unfortunately, many people today have horrible eating habits. These habits are the result of many years of self abuse. Truly understanding this can be difficult. If you know ahead of time that you will have to record that chocolate cheesecake you just ate then you are probably less likely to feel tempted. As well if you are in a group of peers that will give you a lot of grief for doing so then that can be even more incentive to avoid eating like that.

Losing weight can be tough. It can be even more difficult if you don’t have a support system to help you through it. That is why you should not only record the food you eat on a daily basis but also get yourself an accountability partner. The idea behind an accountability partner is to rely on someone to hold you to your goals you have set.

Free Food Journals Online

An online food journal is perhaps the best route to go with in this case. The reason being is that you can easily share your food journal with whomever you want. As well, since these websites are used by thousands of people the amount of food that they keep track of is immense. So if you don’t know the macros of something you ate for lunch you can probably rest assured someone has put that meal in the website beforehand.

One of the best online food journals used by millions is as this is used by many who go through various online weight loss programs. Since this is free to use you don’t have to worry about any monthly charges or anything like that, and many people experience great results just by contributing to the community that is already there.

If that is not something you like or would like to try a more feature rich website there are alternatives such as and to name a couple. has the ability to set up a customized food plan for you, so that is definitely advantageous. However, there is something about meeting someone in real life that just seems more personal.

Many people have smart phones that they use each day. One of the benefits of having an online food journal is that you can easily track what you eat by entering in your food through your phone. As well if  you combine that ability with instagram you can be held accountable for everything you eat. That can make a big difference when you want to really shed those pounds.

Figuring out where you want to be

No matter how much food you track on a daily basis it would make little sense if you didn’t have a plan or goal in mind. Figuring out the reasons why you want to lose the weight is just as important as your daily excercise routine.

So if you want to lose weight or gain muscle, or both, then you need to write these goals down so you can plan out your meals for the week. By not only planning your meals and tracking them you increase the likelihood of future physical success dramatically. This combination is what keeps those who are on stage competing in bodybuilding shows in shape all the time.

You must be able to accurately track what you are eating. In that regards you should buy and use a food scale. These scales are not that expensive, there are many which can be bought on for under 30 dollars, so there really is no excuse not to use one. If you have a hectic job then knowing you are ready with your meals will help you mentally keep true to your goals.

Food journals are a necessary part of your overall weight loss and fitness journey. So many people neglect their diet and that is the reason why they don’t experience the same level of success of others who are on point with their diet at all times.