Eye Diseases and Disorders
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a condition in which the normally dome shaped cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye, becomes progressively thinner and more cone-shaped causing blurred vision and sensitivity to bright lights.
The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, but it is believed pre-existing medical conditions, heredity, allergies, and eye rubbing play a role. It is a gradual, slow moving disease, which typically starts in the late teens to early twenties and may continue for several years.
Symptoms of Keratoconus
In the early stages, keratoconus causes slightly blurred vision and increased sensitivity to bright light. As it progresses, vision may become more and more distorted. An eye care professional can determine the presence of keratoconus during a routine eye examination.
Symptoms of keratoconus include:
- Distorted vision at all distances
- “Ghost” images – the appearance of several images when looking at one object
- Poor night vision
- Light sensitivity
- Eye strain
- Noticeably worse vision in one eye
- Double vision in one eye
Treatment for Keratoconus
In the early stages, keratoconus is essentially a mild form of astigmatism. As such, it can be treated in similar ways:
- Spectacles or soft contact lenses are an effective method of vision correction for most cases of early keratoconus.
- Gas permeable (GP) and scleral lenses – for patients whose condition has progressed and the cornea has become thinner and steeper, these lenses will provide a better level of vision correction.
- Eye surgery – Collagen cross-linking (CXL) is sometimes an option in younger keratoconus patients whose condition is continuing to progress. It is not a cure but helps to slow down the progression of the disease. By late 30’s this has usually happened naturally so CXL is not required. In some cases, a patient may be offered a corneal graft if it is considered to be their best option.
These symptoms can also be a sign of other eye conditions. If you have any of the symptoms, please check with your eye care practitioner.