What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is the condition in which the cornea (outer transparent front surface of your eye) thins out and slowly bulges outwards to form has an irregular surface which leads to blurred vision.
What causes Keratoconus?
While the exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, risk factor include a history of eye allergies, rigid contact lens wear and vigorous rubbing of the eyes.
Sometimes, it has been found to occur in patients having:
- Connective tissue disorders.
- Down’s Syndrome (A condition in which the child has physical and mental development delay).
- Mitral Valve prolapse(a disease of the heart valves).
- Atopic Dermatitis (a skin disease).
What are the symptoms of Keratoconus?
- Decreasing vision (distortions, glares, ghost images, double vision).
- Increased sensitivity to glare and bright light.
- Troubles with night vision.
- Headache after eyestrain.
What is the treatment for Keratoconus?
Lenses: Spectacles, soft, rigid gas permeable, piggyback, hybrid or scleral contact.
UV crosslinking in which eye drops having vitamin B12 are put onto your cornea and activated by UV light.
Surgery includes placing intra-stromal rings or intact. Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty in which partial thickness of your cornea is transplanted or keratoplasty in which entire cornea is transplanted.
How can I prevent Keratoconus?
Though it isn’t always preventable, you can take the following precautions:
Do not rub your eyes too vigorously.
Do not share hard contact lenses with other.
Get an eye checkup if your spectacles prescription keeps on changing frequently or your vision is blurred even with glasses.
If I have Keratoconus in one eye does it mean that I will get in the other?
In 90% of people, Keratoconus occurs in both the eyes. Therefore there is a high chance of you developing it in your other eye. However, there is no way of predicting whether it will be so mild as to be almost undetectable or it will be severe. The Timing of on set and rate of progress over time is usually different for both the eyes.
Isn’t UV light bad for your eyes? How is it a part of treatment for Keratoconus?
UV light is used as a part of the cross linking procedure in which your cornea is first coated with Riboflavin. The UV is only applied to this area and is absorbed in the cornea itself. This helps to strengthen the weak cross links of Keratoconus. Thus, no harm occurs unlike if your eyes have direct exposure to UV light.
Will contact lenses cure my Keratoconus?
No, contact lenses cannot reverse the condition. Lenses are prescribed to provide you with good vision. Rigid lenses may remold and reshape your eye. But your eyes will ‘unmould’ themselves if the lenses are left out. However, it is very important to care for your lenses because ill-fitting or dirty ones can cause infections or scars.
Will I pass my Keratoconus onto my children?
It has been shown that Keratoconus has some genetic component. About one in ten patients have a relative who suffers from this disease. Close family members may be affected ranging from 6% to 19%. So, Yes it is possible, but there is no test currently to check this.