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Keratoconus: What It Is and What You Can Do About It

Keratoconus is a condition that affects the cornea, the transparent, dome-shaped structure on the surface of the eye. Keratoconus causes the cornea to become thinner and gradually bulge out into a cone shape. Changes in vision are common, and Dr. Mohanan can also diagnose the condition based on corneal changes. Keratoconus is a degenerative condition that can progress over the course of 10 years or more. Treatment can involve corrective lenses and even surgery.

Symptoms and Treatment of Keratoconus

Keratoconus can run in families, and people with certain conditions are more prone to it. These conditions include:

  • Osteogensis imperfecta
  • Down syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Leber's congenital amaurosis

Most people begin to develop keratoconus symptoms between ages 10 and 25. Symptoms can include:

  • Distorted or blurred vision
  • Problems seeing at night
  • Frequent need for new eyeglass prescriptions
  • Growing sensitivity to glare or bright lights
  • Trouble seeing up close and far away
  • Seeing afterimages or multiple images
  • Light streaking or halos surrounding lights
  • Clouding or worsening of vision that comes on suddenly

If you know you have astigmatism, or an abnormal curvature of the cornea, and your eyesight suddenly starts getting a lot worse very quickly, you may have keratoconus. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mohanan right away.

Treatment for keratoconus depends on how far the condition has advanced. In the early stages of the disease, eyeglasses are enough to correct the vision changes brought on by keratoconus. As the condition progresses, however, contact lenses will become necessary. 

Contact lenses help correct vision and strengthen the cornea. As corneal changes become more severe, patients will need to wear rigid, gas permeable contact lenses to support the cornea. Hybrid lenses, which have a soft outer edge and a firm center, may be more comfortable. You can also try scleral lenses, which touch the white of the eye and not the cornea. Eventually, you may need surgery to correct the shape of the cornea, or in the most severe cases, corneal transplants.

Do you know anyone who has been affected by keratoconus?