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What Happens To The Eye When You Have Keratoconus?

Posted on March 30, 2020

Older couples smiling with Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disorder that results in the cornea thinning and bulging. Normally, the cornea is round.

But with keratoconus, the cornea becomes cone-shaped. It also results in the central part of the eye extending outwards.

This condition is hard to detect in its early stages until it affects your vision. Keep reading to learn more about what happens when you have keratoconus!

What are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

One of the most common symptoms of keratoconus is having an irregular shaped cornea. Even if you have a cornea that is an irregular shape, you might not be able to see the changes.

This isn’t something you can see even if you use a mirror or someone else looks at your eye. But an eye doctor can detect it during an eye exam.

Another common symptom of keratoconus is if you have a frequently changing prescription. This is true for both contact lenses and glasses.

This is a sign of a cornea whose shape is changing irregularly. Your eye doctor may recommend eye tests to check for the disorder.

How Does Keratoconus Affect the Eyes?

When the cornea becomes thin and cone-shaped, it leads to nearsightedness and astigmatism. This is because a cornea that’s an irregular shape can’t refract light onto the retina properly.

Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the cornea is incorrectly curved. This then leads to blurred vision.

With nearsightedness, you will experience difficulty seeing things that are farther away clearly.

Keratoconus can affect one or both eyes. It is common in most patients in their teens or twenties.

What Causes Keratoconus?

One of the leading causes of keratoconus appears to be heredity. If there’s anyone in your family with keratoconus, you should have regular eye exams. This ensures that if you have the condition, you can start treatment as early as possible.

Another factor that can contribute to keratoconus is if you frequently rub your eyes. This can actually scar the corneal tissue and eventually weakens it.

People with conditions like eczema and asthma also have an increased risk of developing keratoconus.

What are the Treatment Options for Keratoconus?

If keratoconus is diagnosed early, your ophthalmologist may prescribe eyeglasses or contact lenses. Prescription glasses are usually enough when the condition is mild.

As keratoconus progresses, contacts are more effective. This is because they can change the shape of your cornea.

Since keratoconus is a progressive disorder, you’ll eventually need to change from soft to hard contact lenses. With keratoconus, you’ll get to a point when contacts won’t help anymore.

When this happens, your eye doctor may recommend collagen cross-linking, or a transplant as a last alternative. During a corneal transplant, the surgeon will remove diseased corneal tissue and replace it with healthy tissue from a donor.

In cross-linking, riboflavin and UV light strengthen the cornea’s collagen bonds to improve and keep its shape.

If you have keratoconus, it’s important that you get the proper care for your eyes. Schedule an appointment with the doctors at Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute in Orlando, FL today!