What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus, called ‘kair-uh-toe-CONE-us’, is the condition in which the cornea protrudes without a lump. The word comes from the Greek (keratokonus) which literally means ‘cornea cone’.
Keratoconus is a progressive, non-inflammatory disease that causes the cornea to become thinner and thinner, taking on the appearance of a lump.
The function of the cornea is to release light that enters the body. Because it performs a vital function, abnormalities or damage to the cornea can greatly affect your vision and impair your ability to perform simple tasks, such as driving, watching TV, or reading a book. It can affect one or both eyes, and it can affect each eye differently. One in two thousand people may have keratoconus. In most cases, it begins to develop during adolescence and adulthood and progresses slowly over the next decade or two before settling down.
Symptoms of Keratoconus
This is a slow, progressive disease. Some people may not notice the formation of their flexible cornea, while some people experience rapid and obvious changes. Symptoms of keratoconus can include:
- A distorted view
- Increased photophobia (light sensitivity)
- Unusual astigmatism may develop slowly
- Blurred vision
- The need for new eyeglasses whenever you visit an eye doctor.
Causes of Keratoconus
The causes of keratoconus are currently unknown, although many suspected causes include:
- Injury or damage to the cornea
- Corneal tissues weakened due to imbalance of enzymes within the cornea
- Excessive eye reduction
- Endless eye irritation
- Improperly installed contact lenses
Some researchers believe that imbalance of enzymes within the cornea puts the cornea at greater risk for oxidative damage from chemicals called free radicals, ultimately causing the cornea to become weak and leaky.
When to See a Doctor
See your optometrist (ophthalmologist or optometrist) if your eyesight deteriorates rapidly, which may result in varying degrees of vision (astigmatism). She may also look for signs of keratoconus during routine eye examinations.
Treatment of Keratoconus
Treatment depends on the severity of your condition and how quickly the condition progresses.
If your keratoconus continues, corneal collagen cross-linking may be used to reduce or stop the progression of the disease. This is often today a powerful treatment method that prevents you from getting corneal implants in the future. However, this method of treatment does not alter keratoconus or improve vision.
Treatment of your vision depends on the size of the keratoconus. Central and medial keratoconus is usually treated with glasses or lenses. This may be a long-term treatment.
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses are soft. Your eyeglasses or contact lenses can help correct blurring or distorted vision during the first symptoms of keratoconus. But people often change their eyeglasses or contacts because of the shape of their corneas.
- Contact lenses are strong. Solid contact lenses (strong, penetrating gas) are usually the next steps to treat high-grade keratoconus. Tough lenses may feel uncomfortable at first, but most of us wear them and can provide a very good impression. This type of lens is usually made to fit your thorns.
- Piggyback lenses. If the hard lenses are uncomfortable, your doctor may recommend “pulling back the pig” with a hard contact over the soft one.
- Hybrid lenses. These contact lenses have a solid centre with a soft ring around the outside for comfort. People who cannot tolerate solid contact lenses can choose hybrid lenses.
- If you use strong or durable contact lenses, be sure to have them installed by a qualified physician who specializes in treating keratoconus. An improper lens can damage your cornea.
Corneal collagen-binding:- During this process, the cornea is filled with drops of “Riboflavin” and treated with ultraviolet rays. This causes the cornea to connect, which strengthens the cornea to stop going through any further changes in terms of shape. Corneal collagen cross-linking can help reduce the risk of further vision loss by stabilizing the cornea at the onset of the disease.
You may need surgery if you have a corneal scar, there is excessive thinning of your cornea, blurred vision with very strong medical lenses or inability to wear any type of contact lenses. So to calculate the severity of the lump and therefore the severity of your condition, the surgical options include:
Incoming keratoplasty:- If you have a corneal scar or overweight, you will need a cornea implant (keratoplasty). Incoming keratoplasty can be a complete implant of the cornea. During this procedure, doctors remove a full portion of your central cornea and insert it into donor tissue.
Keratoconus implants are often extremely effective, but potential complications include rejection of implants, blurred vision, infection, and astigmatism. Astigmatism is often treated by wearing tight contact lenses as well, which are usually much easier after corneal implants.
In some cases, your corneal implant can swell quickly and cause sudden deterioration of vision and damage to the cornea. This is caused by a condition in which the inner lining of your cornea descends, allowing fluid to enter the cornea (hydrops). The swelling usually subsides on its own, but a scar can form that affects your vision.
Advanced keratoconus can also cause scarring of your cornea, especially where the lump is most prominent. A scarred cornea causes severe vision problems and may require cornea transplant surgery.
The best way to treat your eyes is to visit your eye care professional and get your eyes checked regularly. He will be able to assess the best method of treatment for your eye ailment.
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