The cornea, described as the window of the eye, is a transparent dome that covers both the iris and pupil. It helps you to see, doing the vital work of focusing the light that enters your eye to fall on the retina.
When the cornea is improperly shaped, many issues can occur. One corneal condition that can affect your vision is keratoconus.
Keep reading to learn more about what keratoconus is!
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a condition of the cornea. Instead of forming a dome, the cornea bulges out, assuming a shape that’s essentially a cone.
The weakening of the cornea causes this abnormal bulge. While the normal dome shape focuses light, the abnormal cone causes light rays passing through the eye to go out of focus.
The result is distorted blurry vision. Besides blurry vision, those with keratoconus also have a very weak and thin cornea.
Because the cornea is thin and weak, it can also be very fragile. Keratoconus is a progressive disease that tends to worsen over time and often requires treatment to preserve vision.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Experts aren’t entirely sure of the cause of keratoconus, although it seems that it may be genetic. It’s also associated with eye allergies, excessive eye rubbing, hay fever and asthma, and connective tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
It appears in children and young adults between the ages of ten and twenty-five. It affects both eyes, though the level of severity and symptoms in each eye may differ.
What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?
Early-stage keratoconus includes symptoms such as mild blurred vision and a slight distortion of vision so that straight lines look wavy or bent. There’s greater sensitivity to light and glare, which can make night driving difficult.
Swelling or redness of the eye is also a symptom. Over time, symptoms can change or grow worse.
If you notice a sudden worsening of symptoms or clouding of your vision, you should see your eye doctor. Later-stage keratoconus may cause increased nearsightedness or astigmatism.
What Are the Treatments for Keratoconus?
In the early stages, the blurriness that results from keratoconus can be corrected by eyeglasses. For those with keratoconus, it may be challenging to achieve 20/20 vision, but you’ll see well enough for everyday activities.
As the symptoms worsen, your eye doctor may recommend specialized types of contact lenses designed for keratoconus. While some are soft lenses, rigid gas permeable contact lenses are more effective at bringing vision closer to normal.
There may come a time when wearing contact lenses is no longer possible. They may not fit properly and may not be comfortable in your eyes.
Further treatment is often necessary when glasses and contacts aren’t sufficient to correct vision problems.
How Is Keratoconus Diagnosed?
If you’re experiencing symptoms of keratoconus, a comprehensive eye exam will identify any irregularities in your cornea. Your Metro Eye Care doctor will be able to measure the curvature of your cornea to determine the stage of your keratoconus.
There are various treatment methods that eye doctors use for keratoconus. Besides contact lenses, your eye doctor may recommend having the corneal cross-linking procedure to strengthen your cornea.
In more advanced cases, a corneal transplant may be needed. Your Metro Eye Care doctor can discuss them with you to help you decide on the best treatment plan for you at this time.
Do you want to learn more about keratoconus? Schedule an appointment at Metro Eye Care in Paramus, NJ, today!