Keratoconus is a condition that affects the cornea—the transparent, dome-shaped window at the front of your eye—and can lead to deterioration and vision loss if left untreated.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye condition characterized by the progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea, which is the clear, dome-shaped surface of the eye. This results in the cornea assuming a cone-like shape instead of its normal, smooth curvature. This irregular corneal shape causes distorted and blurred vision, making it difficult to see clearly. Keratoconus is a relatively rare condition, typically diagnosed in adolescents or young adults, and it tends to worsen gradually over time.
Early symptoms of keratoconus might mimic other unrelated eye conditions, such as blurry or distorted vision, light sensitivity, poor night vision, and eye redness or swelling. As the disease progresses, these symptoms can worsen, until contact lenses are no longer effective or scarring forms on the cornea, causing severe astigmatism.
What Causes Keratoconus?
The exact cause of keratoconus is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of keratoconus are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Additionally, certain behaviors like excessive eye rubbing and wearing poorly fitted contact lenses may contribute to its progression. Some studies also suggest that biochemical changes in the cornea’s collagen fibers may play a role in weakening the cornea and causing it to bulge.
How Is Keratoconus Treated?
Treatment for keratoconus depends on how far the condition has progressed. In the early stages, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct vision. As the condition worsens, specialized contact lenses, such as rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, may be required to provide better vision. The condition may progress to the point where surgery is needed.
Intacs are tiny, crescent-shaped devices surgically implanted into the cornea to flatten and re-shape it, correcting the bulging that has caused worsening eyesight.
Corneal cross-linking is a procedure that involves applying special eye drops to the cornea and then exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light. This “cross-links” the layers of collagen to strengthen the cornea and can slow down the progression of keratoconus.
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that cannot be reversed, so early detection and treatment are vital. Learn more about corneal cross-linking and talk to us today about treatment options before your symptoms worsen.