Keratoconus is a rare eye disease. It can be genetic and typically develops during the teenage years, though it has been diagnosed later in life. Keratoconus is a condition wherein the cornea changes from a dome to a cone shape. This basic overview will help you understand the signs of keratoconus and how it can affect your eyesight.
Keratoconus occurs when miniscule protein fibers, known as collagen, are not strong enough to hold the structure of the cornea intact. Collagen will weaken when antioxidant levels become too low. As a result, the normal dome-shaped cornea will progressively take on the form of a cone. Studies show that keratoconus can run in families. If you have the condition and have children, be sure to schedule them for regular eye exams beginning at age 10.
As the cornea transforms from a dome to a cone shape, the eye will have a more difficult time focusing. Keratoconus will change vision in two specific ways. First, as the shape of the cornea alters, the surface of the cornea will start to become wavy. This is known as astigmatism. Second, as the shape of the cornea begins to expand, you will become nearsighted and will only be able to see objects right in front of you. The symptoms that point to keratoconus include: lights streaking, seeing double or triple, double vision when using just one eye, an abrupt change in eyesight, and bright lights that seem to have halos.
After you are diagnosed with keratoconus, your doctor will likely begin treatment by fitting you to new eyeglasses or contact lenses. If your case is mild, glasses may be all you need. If this does not help, a treatment called cornea collagen crosslinking can halt the progression of keratoconus. Another treatment involves using a laser to smooth out the eye and help your contact lenses rest more comfortably in place. In severe cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary.
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The best way to keep your eye health in check is to make sure you regularly visit your eye doctor. At the Eye Associates, we pride ourselves on quality eye care and look forward to addressing your concerns and questions. Arrange your appointment today by calling MERIDIAN: 208-342-5151 or CALDWELL: 208-459-0717.