Keratoconus is an eye condition in which the shape of the cornea becomes distorted. The cornea is a clear structure that covers the front of the eye and does 85% of the focusing of the light as it passes through the eye. In a healthy eye, the cornea curves like a dome. In an eye with keratoconus, the center of the cornea slowly thins and bulges so that it sags and has a cone shape distorting vision.
What causes keratoconus?
The cause of keratoconus is unknown but does follow some genetic lines.
What are the symptoms of keratoconus?
Keratoconus tends to affect people in their early teens with symptoms of blurring vision and rapidly changing prescriptions. Often, eyeglass can not correct vision fully and specially designed medical contact lenses are needed to restore useful vision.
- Difficulty driving at night
- Halos and ghosting, especially at night
- Eye strain
- Headaches and general eye pain
- Eye irritation and excessive rubbing of the eye
How is keratoconus diagnosed?
Keratoconus can usually be diagnosed with a slit-lamp examination as well as corneal topography which precisely measures the curvature of the cornea. Your optometrist will look for signs such as corneal thinning, stress lines, and scarring at the apex of the corneal cone. Keratoconus, especially in the early stages, can be difficult to diagnose and its symptoms could be associated with other eye problems. Simply recognizing symptoms does not by itself diagnose the condition. Only a complete eye examination by a qualified expert can diagnose the condition in its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat and correct.
What is the treatment for keratoconus?
The primary treatment options for keratoconus are contact lenses and surgery. In the very early stages of keratoconus, vision problems can be corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses. As keratoconus progresses, special gas permeable contact lenses may be necessary. Advanced keratoconus may require surgery. There are new treatments for this condition being introduced all the time and by speaking with an expert you are sure to get the best care.