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Definition of Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disorder that affects the cornea, which is the clear, dome-shaped front surface of the eye. In individuals with keratoconus, the cornea gradually thins and takes on a more conical shape, leading to distorted vision. This condition can result in nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism, and it may progress over time.

Risk factors for
Keratoconus

  • Family History
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Eye Rubbing
  • Allergies
  • Connective Tissue Disorders
  • Down Syndrome

Symptoms

Blurred or Distorted Vision

Blurred vision is a hallmark symptom of keratoconus. As the cornea becomes irregularly shaped and thinner, light entering the eye is not properly focused onto the retina, resulting in distorted or blurry vision.

Individuals with keratoconus often experience frequent changes in their eyeglass or contact lens prescription. The changing shape of the cornea can lead to fluctuations in visual acuity, requiring adjustments to corrective lenses.

Many people with keratoconus are more sensitive to light than those without the condition. Bright lights, sunlight, or glare may cause discomfort and worsen visual symptoms.

Due to the irregular shape of the cornea, light entering the eye may scatter, leading to the perception of ghosting or multiple images. This can affect the clarity of vision and cause visual disturbances.

Halos or glare around lights, especially in low-light conditions, can be a symptom of keratoconus. The distorted corneal shape can cause light to scatter and create visual artifacts.

Irritation and redness of the eyes may occur, especially when contact lenses are worn. The rubbing of the irregular cornea against the inside of the eyelid can contribute to discomfort.

Many individuals with keratoconus find it challenging to see clearly in low-light or nighttime conditions. This can be attributed to increased sensitivity to light, halos, and other visual disturbances.

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that can cause various symptoms. It is important to note that the symptoms of blepharitis can vary in severity and may come and go over time. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is recommended to consult an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment Types

Phakic Intraocular Lens (IOL)

In some cases, a phakic intraocular lens (IOL) may be considered for individuals with keratoconus who are not suitable candidates for corneal transplantation. This involves implanting a lens in front of the natural lens to correct refractive errors.

INTACS are small, crescent-shaped devices that are surgically implanted into the cornea. They help reshape the cornea, improving its optical characteristics and reducing visual distortion.

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a procedure that involves the application of ultraviolet (UV) light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the cornea. This procedure aims to strengthen the corneal tissue and slow down the progression of keratoconus.

 

Scleral lenses are larger gas permeable lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye). They can be effective in providing clear vision for individuals with advanced keratoconus.

 

Hybrid lenses combine a rigid center with a soft outer skirt. This design aims to provide the visual benefits of RGP lenses while offering increased comfort from the soft outer portion.

The treatment of keratoconus depends on the severity of the condition. In the early stages, when symptoms are mild, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be sufficient to provide clear vision. However, as the condition progresses and the cornea undergoes further thinning and distortion, more advanced treatments may be required.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disorder in which the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, thins and gradually bulges outward, taking on a cone-like shape. This change in the corneal shape affects vision.

The exact cause of keratoconus is not fully understood, but a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors may contribute to its development.

 

Keratoconus often begins during adolescence or early adulthood. However, it can develop at any age, and the progression of the condition varies among individuals.

 

Common symptoms include blurred or distorted vision, frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions, increased sensitivity to light (photophobia), ghosting or multiple images, and difficulty seeing at night.

 

Diagnosis typically involves a comprehensive eye examination, including corneal topography and other specialized tests to assess the shape and thickness of the cornea.

 

There is no known way to prevent keratoconus. Regular eye examinations are important for early detection and management.

 

Treatment options include eyeglasses, soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, scleral lenses, corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL), intrastromal corneal ring segments (INTACS), and, in severe cases, corneal transplantation.

 

The progression of keratoconus varies among individuals. While some people may experience gradual changes over many years, others may have a more rapid progression.