What Is Keratoconus?

What Is Keratoconus?

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus, or KC, is one of many vision disorders. In this case, it occurs when the cornea becomes thin and begins to bulge outward into a cone-like shape. Typically, the cornea is round, which makes it easy for light to enter the eye. However, due to the abnormal shape, light can’t reach the retina at the back of the eye, which leads to distorted vision.


Who Does Keratoconus Impact?


Usually, it affects people between 10 and 25 years of age. Interestingly, some don’t realize they have a problem because it progresses over time, often 10 years or more. If you have Keratoconus, you will probably visit an eye doctor to get fitted with either glasses or contact lenses.

Currently, vision experts are not sure what causes this eye condition. However, many believe that environmental factors may be a cause. In addition, they believe that it could be genetic since one out of every 10 people with Keratoconus has a parent with the condition.


Risk Factors and Potential Complications


Certain things can increase the risk of developing this eye disorder. By understanding what they are, you can avoid them. They include:

  • Vigorously rubbing your eyes

  • Family history of Keratoconus

  • Living with certain conditions such as Down Syndrome, Pigmentosa, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. However, people with asthma and hay fever also fall into the high-risk category.

In addition, it helps to know about the potential complications of Keratoconus. For example, if you notice a rapid deterioration of your vision or a swollen cornea, you need to see an eye specialist right away. This happens when the interior lining of the cornea breaks down. That allows fluid to get inside the cornea.

Also, an eye doctor can determine whether the cornea suffered any scarring by performing an eye examination. While the swelling will eventually subside, the scarring could compromise your vision. Often, a scarred cornea is the result of advanced Keratoconus, in particular, if the cone is more prominent.


Common Symptoms of Keratoconus


Below are the most common symptoms associated with Keratoconus:

  • Distorted or blurry vision

  • Frequent changes in prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses

  • Enhanced sensitivity to glare and light, which can make driving at night dangerous

  • Increases clouding or worsening vision that happens relatively fast


Treatment Options


Initially, people turn to their eye doctors for prescription glasses or contact lenses. As KC progresses and becomes more advanced, they stop working. At that point, you might make a good candidate for a cornea transplant. However, doctors can offer a new treatment for some patients thanks to advances in ophthalmology.

Known as corneal collagen cross-linking, vision experts consider it revolutionary. After all, it can slow the progression rate of Keratoconus. In some instances, it even stops the progression altogether. In that case, some patients don’t require an additional cornea transplant.

At Kopolow & Girisgen Doctors of Optometry, we provide outstanding patient care for this and other vision problems. To schedule an appointment at one of our 13 eye care centers in Las Vegas, Nevada, call 702-341-7254 or 702-452-2020.

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