Understanding Keratoconus

Understanding Keratoconus

More often than not, we take our vision for granted, and there are numerous conditions that can leave our vision impaired that we should be aware of, and Keratoconus is one of them. But what is Keratoconus?

The cornea is the clear and dome shaped layer right in the front of the eye and its function is to control the focus of light entering your eye. Keratoconus occurs when the cornea begins thinning to a point that it bulges out in a cone-like shape. Light rays are now out of focus when they enter the eye, resulting in a blurry and distorted vision.

What causes it?

That’s the question that is yet to be 100% answered. Ophthalmologists still can’t tell for sure what the exact causes are. Mostly it has been pinpointed to genetics, but that statistic is only 1 in 10. There have been notable contributing factors discovered along the way and they include:

  • certain eye allergies
  • excessive eye rubbing
  • certain connective tissue disorders for example Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

If you are unfortunate enough to develop Keratoconus, it’s likely to be in the early teen years, reaching to your early twenties. The impairment only worsens with time slowly over a 10 to 20 year period.

Can it be prevented?

Typically, no. However, you can prevent it from getting worse. Early detection and treatment can assist in a slow symptomatic progression, as well as regular eye checks. Avoid rubbing your eyes and consider the treatments involved that will improve your vision and reduce the cone-like shape causing the blurriness.

What are the symptoms?

Early stages will include:

  • Mild blurriness
  • Mildly distorted vision
  • Light and glare sensitivity
  • Redness or swelling or the eye

Later stages can affect your everyday life, resulting in:

  • Increased blurriness and distorted vision
  • Astigmatisms (this is when your eyes cannot focus properly, and you regularly have to update your prescription)
  • The inability to wear contact lenses due to discomfort from the cornea bulge.

This condition develops over a number of years, but it has been known to progress rather rapidly in certain cases. So, it’s important that you are aware of what to look out for.

From Diagnosis to Treatment

If you are suspect that you have Keratoconus, seeing your optometrist is crucial. He or she will carry out an eye examination to measure the shape of the cornea. This will help to diagnose the condition before discussing treatment options.

Treatment all depends on the severity of the Keratoconus. In mild cases spectacles or contact lenses are the answer and perhaps will be the only “treatment” needed. For further along impairment in later detected cases, there are other treatments that are popularly performed by Ophthalmologists, namely cornea collagen crosslinking, which works best to stop the vision from getting any worse. Another option is Intacs, these are clear plastic arcs surgically implanted under the surface of the cornea to reduce the cone shape, ultimately improving your vision.

Protect your vision

Keratoconus can be detected during routine eye examinations. That is why it’s extremely important to get your eyes tested regularly.

Date Published: 
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