What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye condition affecting the shape of the cornea, the clear, central part of the front surface of the eye. The cornea is typically dome shaped. However, if the cornea is not strong enough to hold its shape, it can begin to slowly bulge into a cone shape. This is what is known as keratoconus.
What Causes Keratoconus?
In most cases, the cause of kertoconus is unknown. However, certain studies suggest the condition may be hereditary, passed down from generation to generation.
Other potential causes include:
- Keratoconus is more prevalent in patients with certain medical problems, including certain allergic conditions.
- Some researchers have hypothesized that chronic eye rubbing may be a culprit.
Still, most often, there is no underlying cause to explain the onset of keratoconus.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Keratoconus?
- The cornea becomes more irregular in shape
- Subtle blurring or distortion of vision
- Causes progressive nearsightedness and irregular astigmatism
- Glare and light sensitivity may occur
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
- Double vision when looking with just one eye
How does Keratoconus affect Vision?
The changing shape of the cornea makes it impossible for the eye to focus without the use of glasses or contact lenses.
- Irregular Astigmatism: As the cornea slowly changes shape, the smooth surface also begins to become wavy, a condition known as irregular astigmatism.
- Nearsightedness: As the cornea becomes more cone-like, the eye also becomes more nearsighted.
How is Keratoconus Treated?
For the most part, keratoconus is treated using eyeglasses or contacts, though other treatments are available, including:
- Corneal Transplant: When keratoconus worsens to the point that glasses and contacts no longer make a difference, a corneal transplant may be required. Still, even after a transplant, you will likely need glasses or contact lenses for clear vision
- Collagen Cross–Linking: This treatment method, which is still in clinical trials, uses UV light and a photosensitizer to strengthen the chemical bonds in the cornea. This halts progressive and regular changes in corneal shape.
To learn more about Keratoconus, please contact board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, consultative optometrists Dr. Nathan Frank and Dr. Corinne Casey, and the eye care specialists at Anne Arundel Eye Center by calling 410-224-2010 or click here to visit AnneArundelEyeCenter.com. Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, our state-of-the-art treatment center is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.
Source: Eye Health and Keratoconus WebMD