What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a progressive condition in which the transparent, dome shaped front surface of the eye called cornea gets thin and bulges out like a cone. It can also cause blurry vision and make your eyes sensitive to light. Corneal shape and transparency is maintained by the ordered arrangement of its collagen fibrils. Any change or modification in the orientation of collagen fibrils affects the corneal shape and makes the cornea more like a cone.
People between 10-25 years of age are more prone to develop Keratoconus. It is better to cure this condition at an early stage. Otherwise, at the advanced stage; one has to go through cornea transplant.
Let’s understand this in detail.
What are the causes of Keratoconus?
There are no specific causes mentioned medically, but researchers have this perception that this condition exists since birth. Here are some conditions that can cause Keratoconus to exist are –
- Family history – In case, someone in your family is suffering from Keratoconus, you are at a higher risk of having it. Therefore, check your family history; if keratoconus exists then get your children’s eye tested.
- Associations: Keratoconus can be associated with various ocular and systemic conditions. Ocular conditions that are associated with Keratoconus are Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis (VKC), Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), aniridia, brittle cornea syndrome, constant eye rubbing etc. Few systemic associations of keratoconus are Down syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan syndrome, leber congenital amaurosis, etc. Rubbing of eyes – Rubbing your eyes continuously can cause microdamage to collagen fibrils of the cornea which leads to thinning and bulging of cornea. Excessive rubbing of eyes can also fasten the progression of keratoconus.
- Inflammation – Inflammation (allergies, asthma, and more) can also cause damage of corneal tissues leading to changes in corneal structure.
What are the early symptoms of Keratoconus?
Here are some common symptoms that can diagnose Keratoconus at an early stage –
- Monocular double vision
- Blurry visions
- Eye rubbing
- Triple ghost images
- Light streaks
Keratoconus leads to nearsightedness due to axial expansion and irregular astigmatism due to asymmetrical shape of cornea. It often takes time to go from early stage to late stage, however, for a few people it can get worse quickly.
Also Read: WHAT ARE THE 7 CAUSES OF BLINDNESS?
How to treat Keratoconus?
Treatment of Keratoconus can be divided into optical and surgical treatment.
Optical treatment: If Keratoconus is in the initial stage and if vision is improving with spectacles, then new glasses will solve the problem. If vision is not improving with spectacles, then contact lens will be the best choice. Various contact lens options are available for keratoconus conditions such as Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP), Rose K, Hybrid, mini scleral and scleral conatct lenses.
Surgical Treatment: Collagen cross linking can be performed to prevent the progression of keratoconus. Intact implantation is done to flatten the cone shape of cornea to improve vision. Topography guided PRK is performed in mild to moderate conditions to reduce irregular astigmatism and to improve visual function. In advanced condition the last option will be cornea transplantation. A cornea transplant is successful in 90% of cases and very safe. In this transplant, the center of the cornea will be replaced with a new one.
How is Keratoconus diagnosed?
If Keratoconus is in the family history or if your child is frequently rubbing or squeezing the eyes then your child needs consultation with eye care professionals regularly. Eye care professionals will perform the comprehensive eye examination and evaluate cornea if they suspect keratoconus. There are several measurement techniques, but the best one is corneal topography.
In case you see any of these symptoms, visit Pushpagiri eye hospital (PVRI). PVRI is one of the best eye hospitals in Hyderabad with a specialized team of doctors.