What is Keratoconus and Its Symptoms?
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone like shape. This shape then deflects light as it enters the eye and can start to cause distorted vision. Keratoconus may start when the center of the eye’s cornea starts to thin, allowing for pressure inside the eye to create a bulge there.
The eye starts having a cone-like bulge with two or more of the following:
- Blurred, or distorted vision
- Develop an ever-increasing sensitivity to light, making night driving difficult
- Halos and ghosting
- Eye strain, maybe with general eye pain and headaches
- Eye irritation
- A need to change eyeglass prescriptions more frequently
Regular eye checkups for those who wear prescription glasses or contacts can reveal the keratoconus while it is still mild. It may then be possible to reduce or halt the disorder.
Can Keratoconus Be Healed or Stopped?
It is very unlikely a person can ever again have unaided, perfect vision. However, there are many treatments available. It depends upon how severe the condition is when it is diagnosed, and how it is able to be treated. For mild cases, special types of contact lenses can be prescribed that may help “bend” the cornea back into its correct shape. Other contact lenses may try to compensate for the bulge. Those types may include:
- Hybrid contact lenses
- Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses
- Scleral lenses
- Alden Optical’s new NovaKoneTM lenses
- Piggyback Lenses
Methods exist to help those with advanced and severe keratoconus. Depending upon the individual patient’s physiology, corneal cross-linking (CXL) may work and stop keratoconus from getting worse. A corneal transplant may also be possible, but that may be risky and may take up to a year to heal.
What Tests Will Reveal Keratoconus?
General eyes exams will show your eye doctor that keratoconus may be a problem. The routine tests take many forms, as equipment and technology changes:
- Eye refraction is done with special equipment for general eye exams
- Slit-lamp exams are commonly done to examine the eye’s retina. While doing this, an eye doctor may notice keratoconus or recommend a different exam.
- Corneal Topography, also known as corneal mapping, maps the surfaces of the eyes, including the retina. The severity of keratoconus is mapped out at the same time
- Keratometry is able to directly check the shape of the corona
- Pachymetry can measure the thickness of various parts of the corona.
If your doctor suspects you have keratoconus, your future eyesight is at stake. Be sure to allow the doctor to conduct any appropriate exams.
If you live around Hialeah and Weston, Florida, and you need to see an eye doctor, please contact the Vision Care & Surgery Associates or visit us. We will be happy to help you with your needs or give a second opinion about another doctor’s prognosis.