That’s why we at Invision Eyecare are determined to help you understand important conditions you may have never heard of before, like Keratoconus.
Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition in which the normally round, dome-shaped cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) becomes thin and irregular in shape. This irregular shape can cause vision distortion and glare, particularly at night.
While this may sound like astigmatism, there are some notable differences. For example, astigmatism is a common vision condition that occurs when the front surface of the eye (the cornea) or the lens inside the eye is not perfectly round or symmetrical. As a result, light entering the eye is not focused evenly on the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye), causing distorted or blurry vision.
So, while astigmatism is where your eyes are not symmetrical, keratoconus is when your eyes lose their shape. By “lose their shape” we mean the cornea on your eye thins and bulges into a cone. As your eye curves more into a cone shape, you will lose your vision.
How do I treat Keratoconus?
There are a few different ways to treat keratoconus. One option is to wear glasses or contact lenses to help you see better. If the keratoconus is not too severe, you may even be able to use soft contact lenses.
But if the condition is more moderate to severe, you may need to wear harder contacts or special lenses called "rigid gas permeable" (RGP) lenses. These lenses are special because they allow air to flow so your eye can ‘breathe’ while wearing them. You still get the benefit of a hard contact lens, with the comfort of a soft contact lens.
Another treatment option is called collagen cross-linking. This involves putting a special solution on your eye and then shining a medical grade light on it. This light helps the solution to strengthen your cornea and can slow down the keratoconus by strengthening collagen cells within the cornea.
If the keratoconus is very severe, you may need surgery to replace your damaged cornea with a healthy one from a donor. There are a few different types of corneal transplant surgeries, including ones that replace the entire thickness of the cornea and ones that only replace the innermost layers.
It's important to talk to an eye doctor to figure out the best treatment plan for you. They will be able to answer any questions you have and help you see clearly again.
In severe cases and if left untreated, the cornea's irregular shape can cause significant vision loss. The exact cause of keratoconus is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Is Keratoconus genetic?
Keratoconus is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Studies have shown that people with a family history of keratoconus are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
Several genes have been associated with an increased risk of keratoconus, including the genes responsible for producing proteins important for the cornea's structural integrity. These proteins help to maintain the normal shape of the cornea, and variations in these genes may increase the risk of keratoconus.
However, it is important to note that having a family history of keratoconus does not necessarily mean a person will develop the condition. Similarly, not having a family history of the condition does not mean a person will not develop it. It ultimately boils down to a case-by-case basis.
With that, Invision Eyecare is here to help. As we mentioned before, knowing is half the battle, which is why we pride ourselves on our team of experts, state-of-the-art equipment and quality care to help anyone who visits our office.
If you’ve noticed a change in your vision, let us help! We’re happily accepting new patients daily. Give us a call – or a text! – to schedule an appointment.