Patient with keratoconus

Of all the many parts of your eye, your cornea might be the one that’s the most readily apparent when it’s infected or damaged. As the outer layer of the eye, it provides a window to the world of light around you and helps with your overall clarity. However, it is susceptible to injury and disease, especially keratoconus.

What is keratoconus?

Your cornea is meant to be fully spherical in order to correctly take in light. Keratoconus causes the cornea to bulge out into a cone shape over time. Although the causes of this condition are unknown, it’s estimated that one in 2,000 people are diagnosed with it with one of the biggest risk factors for all ages is eye rubbing.

What are symptoms of keratoconus?

Patients with keratoconus may experience the following symptoms due to the curving of their cornea:

  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Light glaring
  • Cloudy vision
  • Eye irritation
  • Headache

Dr. Allison McAlpine, a CEENTA cornea specialist who practices out of our Concord and University offices, advises patients to seek an exam early. “Early detection of keratoconus is so important and can quite literally be vision-saving. When keratoconus goes undetected, there is a chance it may progress to the point of needing a corneal transplant. We may be suspicious of the disease if you have unusual changes in your glasses prescription, especially if you have increased amounts of astigmatism.”

How do you treat keratoconus?

Treating keratoconus depends on the severity of the condition. Your physician may test you with eye refraction, a slit-lamp, and corneal mapping in order to get the shape of your cornea. From there, your options will be based on either stopping or slowing the condition or improving your eyesight. For the former, your physician may recommend corneal crosslinking, a minimally invasive surgery that strengthens your cornea’s collagen fibers with a combination of UV light and eye drops.” To halt the progression of the disease, crosslinking can be performed.

Dr. McAlpine elaborates on this treatment by saying, “We have seen excellent results from this procedure and a drop in the number of corneal transplants for keratoconus since it was first FDA approved in 2016. There are also a number of exciting advancements in the crosslinking procedure being researched right now."

In mild to moderate cases, eyesight can be corrected with glasses or specialty contact lenses like scleral lenses. Patients dealing with corneal scarring due to keratoconus may require a keratoplasty (cornea transplant).

If you believe your blurry vision might be caused by something just below the surface, reach out to CEENTA to get the answers you need. Our ophthalmologists and cornea specialists can examine your eyes for keratoconus and recommend treatment options to both slow the condition and correct your vision. Schedule your next appointment with Dr. McAlpine at our Concord and University offices online at ceenta.com/appointments.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. If you need an appointment with an eye doctor in one of our North or South Carolina locations, you can schedule appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.

 


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