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Keratoconus - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment


What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that affects the cornea, causing it to thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. This irregular curvature can lead to distorted vision and difficulty seeing clearly. Patients with keratoconus often experience changes in their prescription and may require specialized contact lenses or surgery to improve their vision. Regular monitoring by an optometrist is essential to manage the condition and prevent further deterioration of vision.


What Are The Causes Of Keratoconus?

The exact cause of Keratoconus is not well understood, but it is believed to be a multifactorial condition with a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors likely playing a role. Some studies suggest that a genetic predisposition may make certain individuals more susceptible to developing the condition. Additionally, chronic eye rubbing, certain inflammatory conditions, and hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy may also contribute to the development of Keratoconus. Research is ongoing to better understand the complex interplay of factors that contribute to the progression of this condition.

What Are The Risk Factors For Keratoconus?

There are several risk factors associated with the development of Keratoconus. These include a family history of the condition, as it is often passed down genetically. Rubbing the eyes excessively can also increase the risk of developing Keratoconus, as can certain medical conditions such as Down syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Additionally, individuals who have a history of frequent eye rubbing or have a history of wearing poorly fitted contact lenses may be at a higher risk for developing Keratoconus. It is important for individuals with these risk factors to be aware of the potential for developing Keratoconus and to have regular eye exams to monitor for any signs or symptoms of the condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Keratoconus?

Symptoms of Keratoconus typically include blurry or distorted vision, increased sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing at night. Patients may also experience frequent changes in their eyeglass or contact lens prescription, as well as sudden worsening of vision. In some cases, individuals with Keratoconus may also notice halos or streaking around lights, and may have trouble with glare or ghosting of images. As the condition progresses, patients may also develop astigmatism, which can further impact their ability to see clearly. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist for a proper evaluation and diagnosis.

How is Keratoconus Diagnosed?

Keratoconus is diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination carried out by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. During the examination, the eye doctor will conduct various tests to assess the shape and condition of the cornea, such as corneal topography, which maps the curvature of the cornea, and slit-lamp examination, which allows for a detailed view of the cornea's structure. Additionally, the doctor may measure the thickness of the cornea and evaluate the patient's vision to determine if there are any irregularities that may be indicative of Keratoconus. If Keratoconus is suspected, further testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

How is Keratoconus Treated?

Keratoconus can be effectively treated through a variety of methods, depending on the severity of the condition. One common treatment option is the use of specialized contact lenses, such as rigid gas permeable lenses or scleral lenses, to help improve vision by reshaping the cornea. Another treatment option is corneal cross-linking, a procedure that involves applying riboflavin eye drops to the cornea and then exposing it to ultraviolet light to strengthen the corneal tissue. In more advanced cases, corneal transplant surgery may be necessary to replace the damaged cornea with a healthy donor cornea. It is important to consult with an eye care professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each individual case of Keratoconus.

Is There A Cure For Keratoconus?

There is currently no cure for Keratoconus. However, there are various treatment options available to help manage the condition and improve vision. These may include the use of specialized contact lenses, such as rigid gas permeable lenses or scleral lenses, to correct vision and provide comfort. In some cases, surgical procedures such as corneal cross-linking or corneal transplants may be recommended to stabilize the cornea and improve vision. It is important for individuals with Keratoconus to work closely with their eye care provider to determine the best treatment plan for their specific needs.

How Can Keratoconus Be Prevented?

Keratoconus cannot be prevented as it is a condition that typically develops due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, early detection and regular eye exams can help manage the progression of the disease and prevent further deterioration of vision. Additionally, avoiding activities that can potentially worsen the condition, such as rubbing the eyes aggressively or wearing poorly fitted contact lenses, can help maintain eye health and minimize the impact of Keratoconus on vision. It is important for individuals with a family history of the condition to be vigilant about their eye health and seek prompt treatment if any symptoms arise.

Regular eye exams with advanced technologies are essential for the early detection and treatment of keratoconus. Schedule an eye exam with an optometrist today!

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Yes, Keratoconus can be detected early on through regular eye exams, where an ophthalmologist may use various tests such as corneal topography or corneal pachymetry to diagnose the condition.

In some cases, improperly fitted contact lenses can worsen Keratoconus by causing further damage to the cornea. It is important for individuals with Keratoconus to work closely with their eye care provider to ensure proper fit and management of contact lenses.