You see through the cornea, which is the transparent part of your eye that covers its front portion. It’s responsible for refracting or bending light. The cornea is ordinarily round, but its structure is sometimes not strong enough to hold this shape. In some people, the normal pressure inside their eyes makes their cornea bulge like a cone. This eye condition is known as keratoconus, also referred to as conical cornea. Keratoconus will not make you go blind. But the changes to your cornea will make it difficult for your eyes to focus without prescription eyewear.
It’s worth noting that keratoconus can be dangerous if you undergo laser vision correction surgery. These include laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). In fact, anyone with even just a tiny amount of keratoconus should never have these types of surgery.
The symptoms of keratoconus can start at any age. But they usually manifest in late adolescent years or early twenties. Some of the earliest signs and symptoms of keratoconus are blurry vision and the need to change your eyewear prescription frequently. Another indication is blurred vision that eyeglasses cannot correct. Other symptoms may also surface, including:
Increased sensitivity to light
Headaches and general eye pain
Halos and glare, especially at night
Difficulty driving at night due to glare
In its advanced stages, keratoconus may cause acute hydrops. It occurs due to the sudden infusion of fluid into the eye’s stretched cornea. As a result, patients experience a sudden clouding of their vision, which clears after a few weeks or months. In other advanced cases, superficial scars may form at the apex of the bulging cornea, impairing your vision further.
Your eye doctor will treat keratoconus depending on the severity of your condition. If your symptoms are mild, they may prescribe eyeglasses for vision correction. Later, they may recommend special hard contact lenses to keep your vision in proper focus. Other treatment options include:
Also known as corneal implants, Intacs are tiny, transparent, and semi-circle inserts that your doctor will place in the peripheral layer of your cornea to reshape its steep area. This small, curved device is surgically put in your cornea to help flatten its curvature. The procedure generally takes less than 10 minutes, is painless, and improves the quality of vision. It also gives sharper vision by reducing glare, distortions, and double images.
This treatment works by strengthening the cornea’s front layers using vitamin B2 and ultraviolet light. It’s designed to create new bonds between the fibers in your cornea, thus strengthening it. Research shows that it helps slow or stop the progression of keratoconus. It’s also been shown to be effective in treating LASIK and PRK patients with corneal ectasia.
This treatment is warranted once your cornea has become dangerously thin. It’s also recommended when contact lenses can no longer provide you with sufficient visual acuity to meet your needs due to lens intolerance, corneal steepening, or corneal scarring.
In its early to moderate stages, keratoconus may not present any noticeable changes in your cornea. As the condition progresses, you may observe that your cornea is bulging forward in a cone-like shape. Don’t wait for your vision changes to get worse and affect your quality of life. Schedule your eye examination today with El Paso Eyecare in El Paso, Texas.
Learn more about signs & treating keratoconus, contact El Paso Eyecare in El Paso, Texas at (915) 745-7960 to schedule an eye exam today!