What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a thinning disorder of the cornea that causes distortion and reduced vision. Abnormalities of the cornea severely affect the way we see day to day, making simple tasks, like driving, watching TV or reading a book difficult.
How is Keratoconus Diagnosed?
In the early stages, keratoconus can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms can be associated with other eye problems. Symptoms may include blurred vision, burning, increased sensitivity to light, halos, eye strain and or headaches. Symptoms will usually appear in someone’s late teens or early twenties but are not limited to. It can progress for 10-20 years and then become stable or slow down. Each eye may possibly be affected differently.
Through a comprehensive eye exam your eye care professional can usually diagnose keratoconus with a slit-lamp examination and looking for classic signs such as corneal thinning and scarring. Pachymetry measures the corneal thickness over the whole cornea looking for thinned areas.
How is Keratoconus Treated?
In the early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses are often used to correct the mild nearsightedness and astigmatism. As the disorder progresses and the cornea continues to thin and change shape, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are generally prescribed to correct vision more adequately.
In extreme cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary due to scarring, excessive thinning or contact lens intolerance. This surgical procedure replaces the keratoconus cornea with healthy donor tissue.