Keratoconus: What It Is and How to Treat It
This rare disease gives your eye an abnormal shape that you should be aware of.
Keratoconus is probably a disease you have never heard of. And for good reason; only one in 2,000 people are affected by keratoconus, making it one of the more rare eye conditions. Although the chances of ever having to deal with keratoconus are slim, being aware of what this disease entails can help you or a loved one identify it early so you can seek treatment immediately.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea of the eye is misshapen due to an abnormal thinning of its tissue. As a result, the cornea loses its naturally spherical form and instead becomes cone-shaped, looking as though a bubble were bulging from the iris. Unfortunately, this irregular shape is visible to the naked eye.
Currently, the cause or causes of keratoconus are unknown. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of cases – roughly 90% – appear from out of nowhere, making it difficult for scientists to link the condition to a specific origin. However, the remaining 10% of cases support a genetic connection. Some research points to eye rubbing as a potential cause, as well as a prior history of conditions like asthma, allergies, and Down syndrome.
Because the misshapen cornea affects how the eye receives light, people with keratoconus experience blurred and distorted vision. The cornea also becomes less efficient regarding how much light it needs, making it hard to see in dimly lit conditions that otherwise would not have been an issue. Other symptoms include increased sensitivity to light, double vision, and even vision loss.
Keratoconus affects refraction – the bending of light into our retina to produce vision – which means that it has the same treatment as a refractive error: prescription eyewear. However, glasses and contact lenses can be ineffective in some cases in which the cornea is too badly deformed. Under these circumstances, a corneal transplant may be the only way to correct your vision.
Keratoconus is a rare disease, but rarity should not stop you from educating yourself about these types of conditions so you can be prepared should they ever arise. Our team of experienced eye doctors at Sterling Vision can help protect you from eye conditions both common and uncommon. To schedule an appointment with us, call 541-262-0597 or schedule online.