Keratoconus is a disorder where the eye lens begins to thin and bulge outward. As a result, the front of the eye, which filters light, tends to become distorted. Blurred vision is the main symptom of keratoconus. In some cases of keratoconus, a genetic component seems to be responsible for this condition. Sometimes this condition is associated with excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays or persistent eye irritation.
A person’s early signs often appear around the age of twenty or even earlier. Patients suffering from this condition usually experience progressive vision changes over the following ten to twenty years. They may need a new prescription for eyeglasses every year or even more frequently.
The earliest symptom of keratoconus is blurred and distorted vision. The vision may only be slightly affected in the initial stages, but the condition can deteriorate quickly. The other symptoms include light sensitivity, vision glare, and cornea irritation. Keratoconus can affect each eye differently.
The visual distortion will increase as the keratoconus condition progresses and the cornea thickens and scars. The cornea swells when the elastic region of the cornea develops a tiny crack caused by the straining of the cornea’s protruding cone-like shape. The swelling, known as corneal hydrops, can persist for weeks to months. Once the crack heals, it is gradually replaced by scar tissue.
While keratoconus cannot be prevented, some treatments can improve the symptoms of this disorder and even stop its progression. At first, keratoconus is primarily treated using contact lenses and eyeglasses. However, as this condition distorts the shape of the eye, soft lenses are not effective. Some customized soft lenses are available for patients with milder symptoms.
In advanced stages of keratoconus, glasses also do not help. Many patients at this stage opt for surgical treatments to strengthen the cornea, which helps prevent it from bulging outwards. There are different kinds of treatment, including intacs and corneal crosslinking.
Another advanced contact lens treatment for the disease is scleral lenses. Scleral lenses can cover the deformed cornea and perform the function of natural soft contact lenses. They are the latest treatment for patients with irregular cornea since they are available in varying sizes and diameters and significantly improve the comfort of the lens.
At Summerlin Vision, we firmly believe that everyone should have regular comprehensive eye exams, which check for keratoconus and many other things. We are located at 900 S Pavilion Center Dr #140, Las Vegas, NV 89144. You can also reach us at (702) 243-8788 and schedule an appointment.