Keratoconus is an eye condition in which the shape of the cornea becomes distorted. The cornea is the clear structure that covers the front of the eye and allows light to enter the eye. In a healthy eye, the cornea curves like a dome. In an eye with keratoconus, the center of the cornea slowly thins and bulges so that it sags and has a cone shape.
WHAT CAUSES KERATOCONUS?
The cause of keratoconus is unknown, but there is a strong hereditary component to this condition.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF KERATOCONUS?
Keratoconus tends to affect younger people, and the symptoms sometimes start in the early teen years and progress rapidly for the next 10 to 20 years. Often, eyeglass prescriptions must be changed frequently as the disease progresses.
Difficulty driving at night
Halo's and ghosting, especially at night
Headaches and general eye pain
Eye irritation and excessive rubbing of the eye
HOW IS KERATOCONUS DIAGNOSED?
Keratoconus can usually be diagnosed with a slit-lamp examination as well measurement of the corneal curvature. Your optometrist will look for signs such as corneal thinning, stress lines, and scarring at the apex of the corneal cone. Keratoconus, especially in the early stages, can be difficult to diagnose and its symptoms could be associated with other eye problems. Simply recognizing symptoms does not by itself diagnose the condition. The most reliable way to detect keratoconus is through the use of a corneal imaging device called a corneal topographer.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR KERATOCONUS?
The primary treatment options for keratoconus are contact lenses and surgery. In the very early stages of keratoconus, vision problems can be corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses. As keratoconus progresses, special rigid gas permeable contact lenses may be necessary. Advanced keratoconus may require surgery.