Keratoconus

by | 26 Mar 2022 | Eye Conditions, News

A thinning of the central zone of the cornea allows normal, internal eye pressure to cause the rounded shape of the cornea to become cone-shaped.

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease causing the normally round, dome-shaped cornea to thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. The role of the cornea is to help refract and focus light coming into the eye onto the retina. However, a thinning and irregular shape of the cornea deflects the light on its way to the retina, causing blurred and distorted vision, often resulting in myopia and astigmatism.

Causes of keratoconus?

Research and studies into keratoconus are ongoing. However, there is some evidence to suggest that there is a genetic component (1 in 10 people with keratoconus will also have a parent with keratoconus), which would explain why often more than one person in the same family presents with the condition.

Other risk factors include excessive eye rubbing, chronic eye irritation, eczema, Down syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Links have also been made with patients who suffer from hay fever, glaucoma, and sleep apnoea.

Symptoms

Keratoconus generally affects people in their teens or early twenties. It progresses faster in younger patients. In most cases, it stabilizes by the mid-30s. Furthermore, symptoms may change as the condition progresses and include:

  • blurry or distorted vision
  • increases light sensitivity and glare sensitivity
  • streaks and / or halos around lights at night time
  • frequently changing glasses prescription

Diagnosis

An advanced corneal topographer measures the shape of the cornea. Regular measurements help to monitor the condition and understand how the shape of the cornea changes over time.

Treatment

If Keratoconus is detected early, vision is corrected with glasses. However, once the condition progresses and the cornea’s shape becomes very irregular, there are a range of further treatments and therapies available including:

  • Rigid contact lenses (e.g. gas permeable lenses) – replace the irregular shape of the cornea with a smooth uniform refractive surface to improve vision.
  • Corneal cross-linking – strengthens the corneal tissue to stop the bulging of the eye’s surface. The Optometrist will refer you to an Ophthalmologist for this procedure.
  • Corneal inserts – arc-shaped corneal inserts can be surgically positioned to reshape the surface of the eye for clearer vision. Again, the Optometrist will refer you to an Ophthalmologist for this procedure.
  • Corneal grafts or transplants – for advanced cases of keratoconus where contact lenses or other therapies are no longer effective, a donor cornea is used to replace the diseased part of the cornea.

Reducing your risk

Early detection is key. Given the fast progression of this condition in a person’s teens and early twenties, it is vital to get your kids’ eyes examined regularly from a young age. This allows the optometrist to monitor the child’s vision over time and ensure changes are picked up early.

Our 100% independently owned practice has invested in leading diagnostic tools, including a corneal topographer. Furthermore, we have the experience to provide a thorough assessment of your eye health.

Noosa Optical

Suite 2 & 3 Noosa Professional Centre
1 Lanyana Way
Noosa Heads QLD 4567

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Monday - Friday | 9:00am - 5:00pm

We're closed for weekends and public holidays.