What is Keratoconus ?
Keratoconus is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea, the front surface of the eye. As a result of this thinning, the normally round shape of the cornea is distorted and a cone-like bulge develops, resulting in significant visual impairment. The cause of keratoconus remains unknown, although recent research seems to indicate that it may be genetic in origin. Certain allergic and arthritic disorders, Down’s syndrome, chronic eye rubbing, overexposure to sunlight and contact lens wear have occasionally been associated with this condition.
The initial symptoms of keratoconus are usually a blurring and distortion of vision that may be corrected with spectacles in the early stages of the condition. Frequent changes to the spectacle correction may be required as the cornea becomes progressively thinner.
Diagnosis is made with an assessment by your ophthalmologist. Special tests must be done to determine the status of the condition.
In the early stages of the condition, spectacles are usually successful in correcting the myopia and astigmatism associated with the keratoconus. As the condition advances, the cornea becomes highly irregular and vision is no longer adequately corrected with spectacles. Rigid contact lenses are then required to provide optimal visual acuity. Soft contact lenses are usually not an option, as they cannot correct for the irregular astigmatism associated with the keratoconus. In about 15% of cases, the keratoconus progresses to the stage where corneal transplantation is required.
Modern treatment is very successful in correcting visual impairment caused by keratoconus.