Keratoconus Q & A
What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye disease that affects your cornea. Your cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped tissue that covers the front of your eye and focuses light as it enters your pupil. Keratoconus usually develops in your early 20s but develops slowly.
Keratoconus causes your cornea to become thin and then bulge out into a cone shape. The distorted shape of your cornea affects the way it focuses light and negatively affects your vision.
What are the symptoms of keratoconus?
Keratoconus can affect both of your eyes and often to different degrees, which leads to different visual acuity in your eyes. Some of the symptoms of keratoconus include:
- Blurred vision
- Lines that look bent or waved
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Eye redness or swelling
If left untreated, keratoconus symptoms can become worse and severely distort your vision. It can lead to increased myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism. The deformed shape of your cornea may make regular contact lenses feel uncomfortable.
What causes keratoconus?
Optometrists and medical researchers don’t fully understand the cause of keratoconus, although research indicates the condition is genetic. Your risk may also increase if you suffer from allergies and rub your eyes frequently.
How is keratoconus diagnosed?
Dr. Richlin, OD & Associates practitioners can diagnose keratoconus during a comprehensive eye exam. When your doctor examines your cornea, they assess distortion in the shape or change in its curvature.
How is keratoconus treated?
The optometrists at Dr. Richlin, OD & Associates are specialty lens fitters. In addition to the popular brands of soft, disposable contact lenses, they can fit you with scleral contact lenses, designed specially to fit over abnormal corneas.
Scleral lenses are custom designed to fit your eyes. They have a larger diameter and vault over your cornea to accommodate any abnormality.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your optometrist may also recommend additional treatment to repair your cornea, including:
- Intacs – A surgically implanted device that flattens your cornea
- Collagen cross-linking – Prescription eye drops and UV light strengthen your cornea to prevent additional bulging
- Corneal transplant – Your optometrist replaces your cornea with healthy donor tissue
Your treatment depends on the severity of your condition. Your optometrist will discuss your options with you in detail to help you make the best decision for your eye health.
If you’re concerned about your vision, call Dr. Richlin, OD & Associates or schedule an appointment online today.