What is Keratoconus?
When we’re on the way to see our optometrist most of us aren’t expecting anything more complicated than an updated prescription and a bill for a new set of glasses (with anti-scratch coatings and transition lenses, of course). Optometrists are fully fledged doctors who actually diagnose and treat a variety of health issues related to our vision and eyes. One of these conditions is known as Keratoconus, a progressive condition that can result in the deformation of the cornea leading to distorted vision.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Research into this condition has revealed that the condition may be the result of enzymes that become imbalanced within the cornea that causes it to become vulnerable to damage from free radicals. This damage leads to bulging in the cornea as a result of it becoming weakened. This imbalance seems to be the result of a number of factors, most prominently a genetic predisposition to the condition. Other causes seem connected to poorly fitted contact lenses, chronic irritation of the eyes, eye-rubbing that become excessive, and too much exposure to ultraviolet rays.
How Can It Be Treated?
The most common treatment for this condition is the use of soft contact lenses and eyeglasses that correct the distortion that occurs. This is only effective during the earliest stages when the condition isn’t severe. As the condition progresses the following treatments may be tried:
1. Corneal Crosslinking
This procedure helps to strengthen the tissue of the cornea to stall the deformation of the surface of the eye. This is accomplished in one of two ways, starting with the removal of the surface layer of the cornea to allow various nutrients to reach the cornea, followed by the application of UV light. Alternately the epithelium, this surface layer, may be left on to reduce the risk of infection. Leaving the epithelium on means this condition may take more time to work.
2. Custom Soft Contact Lenses
The introduction of custom soft contact lenses by manufacturers has provided new options to treat keratoconus that is mild to moderate. They must be custom designed to treat the needs of the individual patient, and are often more comfortable than other lens options. These lenses tend to have a greater coverage area than regular lenses to help provide greater stability on the eye. While they tend to be more expensive than traditional lenses, they are often covered by insurance.
If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from a condition like keratoconus, be sure to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. If you’re new to the Smyrna, TN area or are looking for a new optometrist schedule an appointment at The Optical Shoppe with Paul Trapeni, Jr today! His team of skilled practitioners have been helping patients in the area enjoy life with excellent vision, and are ready to welcome your family to be their patients. Don’t let your ability to enjoy the beautiful sights of the world become compromised by conditions like keratoconus, make an appointment today!