Keratoconus is an eye disease in which a patient’s cornea thins and protrudes, which results in an irregular, conical shape. This is a progressive disease, and causes progressive nearsightedness and blurred vision. Light sensitivity may also be a symptom. You may be at risk for keratoconus if you have a genetic predisposition for it, though there is no definitive answer on what causes this eye disease. Patients are usually diagnosed with keratoconus in their late teens or early 20s, and the disease progresses for the rest of the patient’s life, leading to greater and greater visual distortion. There are no medications that can prevent this disorder from progressing. However, patients should avoid rubbing their eyes, as this may cause
If you are diagnosed with keratoconus, you do have some treatment options. Glasses are usually not enough to provide best vision, and in extreme cases, a corneal transplant may be indicated. Other treatment options could include conductive keratoplasty; Contact lenses: custom soft lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, or hybrid lenses; scleral and semi-scleral lenses; “piggybacking” multiple lenses in the same eye; Intacs; and corneal cross-linking. We’ll have another post about corneal cross-linking coming soon.
Some possible complications of keratoconus are corneal hydrops (or corneal rupture), which occurs when a tear in the back of the cornea allows aqueous humor to leak into the cornea. This is painful and causes a severe clouding of vision, as the cornea takes on a milky white appearance. Generally, the effect is temporary and the cornea will return to its former transparent state.
Patients with keratoconus are advised to follow up with cornea specialists, and pay special attention to getting annual vision exams