Keratoconus is an eye condition that causes your cornea to progressively thin and bulge into forming a cone shape. The clear outer part of your eye lens, called the cornea, looks like a ball or a dome. Sometimes, it can bulge outward to form a cone shape when its structure lacks adequate strength to retain the dome shape.
Collagens, the tiny protein fibers in the eyes, help hold the cornea in place. If they weaken, they cannot keep the round or dome shape, and the cornea gradually changes to look like a cone in shape.
The cornea shape changes happen when your cornea lacks adequate antioxidants to protect it.
The antioxidants are vital in protecting the collagen fibers and removing harmful by-products that the cornea cells often produce. Low levels of antioxidants weaken the collagens and cause your cornea to bulge.
The causes of keratoconus are unknown. However, some researchers believe that an individual can have it from birth. Here are other factors that have a link to it:
Family history - You have an increased risk of getting keratoconus if you have a family member with it. It is advisable to get your children examined by an eye specialist if you already have the condition.
Eye rubbing - You can break down your cornea by habitually rubbing your eyes. The hard rubbing also causes keratoconus to progress quicker if it is already there.
Inflammation - Your cornea tissue can break down due to inflammation caused by atopic eye disease, asthma, or allergies.
Age - Keratoconus often begins during the teenage years. It can show up early during childhood or till you reach 30. The condition affects individuals who are 40 years old and above, but this is not very common.
Some disorders - Some systematic conditions like retinitis pigmentosa and Down's syndrome are linked with keratoconus.
There are two different ways that keratoconus can change your vision. You can have irregular astigmatism when the cornea changes its shape from a ball to a cone. Its surface also gets wavy.
The expansion of the front part of your eyes impacts vision to become nearsighted. Thus, you only see things clearly when they are close. Any object that is at a distance appears blurry.
You can also experience the following symptoms:
Seeing halos around bright lights
Your eye doctor must measure your cornea shape to diagnose keratoconus. There are various ways to do it. One way is through corneal topography, where your specialist photographs your cornea so they can look at the photo more closely. The Oculus Keratograph® helps make the diagnosis more effective. It is an advanced type of corneal topographer. It has a built-in optimized color camera and keratometer that aids external imaging.
The Oculus Keratograph helps improve a keratoconus topographical diagnosis. It helps with the management of the condition.
Your eye doctor can prescribe new glasses if your case is mild. Doing so can help clear it up. But if they do not help, your specialist will suggest rigid gas-permeable contact lenses. You may need other treatments later to help improve your vision by strengthening the cornea.
Cornea collagen crosslinking can prevent keratoconus from worsening. Eye specialists could implant a ring under your cornea to improve your sight and flatten the corneal shape.
A corneal transplant is often the last resort when other treatments do not improve your vision. It is a successful and safe procedure. Your eye medic will remove your cornea center and use a donor to replace it and stitch it into place. You may have to wear contacts later.
For more about keratoconus, visit Studio Optix at our office in New York, New York. Call (212) 765-4444 to book an appointment today.