WHAT IS IT?
Keratoconus is an eye condition that affects the shape of the cornea, which is the clear outer layer of the eye. Normally, the cornea has a round shape like a ball. But with keratoconus, the cornea becomes thin and bulges out into a cone shape. This can cause blurry or distorted vision, and can even make it difficult to see clearly.
Keratoconus usually starts in the teenage years or early 20s, and it can get worse over time. It can affect one or both eyes.
The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, but it may be related to genetics or environmental factors.
There are several treatment options for keratoconus, depending on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, glasses or contact lenses may be enough to correct the vision. However, as the condition progresses, special contact lenses, such as scleral lenses or rigid gas-permeable lenses, may be needed.
Scleral lenses are larger than regular contact lenses and rest on the white part of the eye, rather than the cornea. This can help improve vision by providing a more stable surface for light to enter the eye. Rigid gas-permeable lenses are also designed to improve vision by creating a smooth, even surface on the cornea. Both types of lenses require special fitting and care by an eye doctor.
Another treatment option is corneal cross-linking, which involves using a special type of ultraviolet light and eye drops to strengthen the cornea and stop the progression of keratoconus. During the procedure, the eye doctor applies riboflavin drops to the cornea and then uses a UV light to activate the drops. This helps to increase the number of chemical bonds in the cornea, making it stronger and more stable.
In some cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary if other treatments are not effective. During a corneal transplant, the damaged cornea is removed and replaced with a healthy donor cornea. This can be a more invasive procedure with a longer recovery time, but it can be effective in restoring vision.
If you have keratoconus or think you may have it, it’s important to see an eye doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the more effective treatment can be in managing symptoms and preventing further damage to the cornea.
Overall, while keratoconus can be a challenging condition to manage, there are several effective treatment options available. With the help of an eye doctor, people with keratoconus can find the right treatment plan to improve their vision and maintain their eye health.