Misinformation About Keratoconus Can Be Corrected

Many people consider their eyesight to be among their most treasured possessions. The method in which the body converts light into vision is quite remarkable. However, it’s not a flawless process. The eyes can be damaged in multiple different ways. Keratoconus is one of these. Many people may find that their cornea becomes un-naturally thin. This can cause the natural dome shape of the cornea to push outward and look more like a cone. A distinctly altered cornea can play havoc on vision. It also doesn’t protect the eye to the degree that it should. Like many medical conditions, it can be plagued by incomplete information at times. What follows are some basic questions to allow anyone interested in keratoconus to become more familiar with the condition. 

The 6 Important Questions

1: What Causes Someone to Get Keratoconus?

A: The short answer is that there’s currently no idea what’s causing keratoconus. Some people get it, while others don’t. It usually begins after someone has turned 10, but before they have reached 25. This early onset is significant as it will continually progress and decline for many years after. The most important risk factor to getting keratoconus is genetics and family history. Around 1 out of every 10 diagnosed cases can trace family history back to another member with keratoconus. 

2: How Do You Know You Have It?

A: Typically, alterations to vision are the most common signs that people see. Blurred vision is a very common sign. Others may have distorted vision, similar to a funhouse mirror. Some people see their vision go cloudy when it wasn’t before. It’s also very common for those with keratoconus to suffer from poor vision when it comes to bright lights. Head and tail light glare can be hard to look at. 

3: Are There Tests To Figure Out if I Have Keratoconus?

A: There are several tests that a doctor will perform. The sit-lamp exam is one in which a vertical beam of light is focused on the eye while they use a microscope to look at the cornea. Keratometry involves measuring the reflection of light from an eye to figure out how the cornea is shaped. Eye refraction is a common eye test in which a doctor uses different lenses to try to determine the sharpest vision possible in the eyes. Computerized corneal mapping attempts to create a digital image of the cornea topography, not unlike maps used to show where hills and valleys are. However, this test can also determine how thick a cornea is as well. 

4: Can Glasses Solve the Issues?

A: Eyeglasses are one of the most useful forms of treatment. Getting glasses or soft contact lenses is usually the way to handle most mild cases of keratoconus. There’s one downside however. Since keratoconus is progressive, it means that the prescription on the glasses is going to change quite frequently. 

5: What Can Hard Contacts Do Better?

A: Hard contact lenses are chosen for treatment because of their ability to keep their shape. This can be important to keep the cornea from pushing out into a further cone shape. The problem is that hard contact lenses are inherently rougher to wear. Many people struggle with them. Piggyback lenses may be chosen where a soft contact is attached inside a hard contact. There are also hybrid lenses that are hard in the middle with softer areas around it. 

6: Are there any other treatment plans?

A: In some cases (advanced ones), surgery may be chosen to assist with keratoconus. The first type of surgery is known as a corneal insert. This surgery will insert intracorneal ring segments into the cornea. This flattens down the cone shape and supports the cornea’s natural shape. The other alternative is a cornea transplant. There are several forms of cornea transplants depending on the location of the transplant. Transplants are well thought of and usually successful. However, sometimes they may not work as intended and can damage finish, cause astigmatism or suffer a full rejection of the corneal graft.

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