Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that causes the cornea to weaken and become conical in shape.
The cornea is the clear front surface or ‘window’ of the eye. In people with keratoconus, the cornea develops an irregular shape, which eventually affects your vision. Most people with keratoconus begin to develop the condition in their late teens or early 20s.
The cornea does much of the eye’s focusing. If the shape of the cornea changes, this results in blurred vision, and sometimes, light sensitivity and ghost images.
As keratoconus progresses, you may notice that glasses become less effective at improving your vision. Contact lenses can also become less effective and uncomfortable to wear as the cornea becomes more conical.
This condition can often be picked up during your routine eye examination and diagnosed by your eye doctor. There are also specific mapping machines designed to diagnose and monitor this condition, known as a corneal topographer.
Treatments are varied and include contact lenses, Keraring corneal implants and corneal transplants. An advanced new treatment called corneal collagen cross-linking can also stop and even partly reverse the effects of keratoconus. This is also available here at Eye Institute.
Keratoconus can be a very serious eye condition and require ongoing monitoring to check for stability and progression. In severe cases, it can result in significant vision loss.
Can keratoconus go away without treatment?
Keratoconus is a lifelong condition that will not go away on its own.
Can Keratoconus cause blindness?
Keratoconus does not result in complete blindness, but if left untreated, it can severely impair vision. With treatment, however, most people have great prognoses and can enjoy normal lifestyles.
Does Keratoconus affect both eyes?
Keratoconus is a bilateral condition. However, one eye does tend to be more affected than the other due to the variability of the condition. It may remain this way, or the better eye may also start declining with time. It is, unfortunately, impossible to predict which will occur. This is why periodic monitoring of the condition is crucial for early detection and subsequent management of changes as they occur.
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After treatment, people often tell us how pleased they were that they took action when they did. They’re often so glad that they reached out so that we could address their concerns and help them resolve their troublesome eye condition.
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Keratoconus affects 86 in 100 000 people, causing visual loss due to increasing irregular corneal astigmatism, and the quality of life declines in patients. Interventions are used to stabilize the disease or improve vision, including corneal cross-linking (CXL) and grafting, but these carry risks. Detailed knowledge of the natural history of keratoconus is fundamental in making informed decisions on when their benefits outweigh these risks. Click here to read more.