For quite some time, eye doctors hypothesized as to whether or not eye rubbing was a cause of keratoconus, an eye condition affecting the shape of the typically-dome-shaped cornea. 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 and it makes it impossible for the eye to focus without the use of glasses or contact lenses.
Is Eye Rubbing to Blame for Keratoconus?
It is believed that constant eye rubbing every few minutes over years may lead to permanent changes to corneal curvature leading to formation of keratoconus. Several studies have found eye rubbing to cause transient (temporary) changes to cornea; however, there is no scientific evidence to support the claims of any long-term effects of eye rubbing. At least not yet…
A 2014 study, “Relationship Between Eye Rubbing and Transient Changes in Corneal Parameters in Healthy Volunteers: A Randomised-Controlled Trial,” is seeking to finally answer the question can eye rubbing cause keratoconus? The study tested healthy volunteers after they rubbed their right eye for 2 minutes. The volunteers underwent a tear film assessment and a corneal scan before and after the eye rubbing. Each volunteer also underwent a simple scan (IOLMaster scan) to assess the overall dimension of their eyeballs before eye rubbing.
The results have not yet been reported.
So What Actually 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. Keratoconus is also more prevalent in patients with certain medical problems, such as certain allergic conditions. However, the actual cause of the eye condition is not yet known.
Keratoconus Signs and Symptoms
- The cornea becomes more irregular in shape
- Subtle blurring of the vision
- Causes progressive nearsightedness and irregular astigmatism
- Glare and light sensitivity may occur
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
If you are experiencing the above symptoms, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor – optometrist or ophthalmologist – as soon as possible. Any sudden change in your vision is a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical attention from your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
The primary treatment option for Keratoconus patients remains the use of contact lenses, including rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP) contact lenses. Other treatment options include: collagen cross-linking and even corneal transplantation.
Your eye doctor will be able to better inform you of your treatment options.
Located in Annapolis, Maryland, the Anne Arundel Eye Center offers comprehensive specialized ophthalmic exams as well as diagnostic pre and post-surgical eye care. Specializing in glaucoma and cataracts, Board Certified Ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles has helped restore and preserve thousands of patients’ vision. Let him help you too.
If you have any questions about Keratoconus or wish to schedule an appointment with Anne Arundel Eye Center, please contact Board Certified Ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Kathryn Gurganus Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010 or Click Here to fill out our contact form. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube as well!
For more eye care advice and information, please take a look at our previous blog posts.