What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye problem that affects the structure of the cornea, causing it to progressively thin and bulge into an irregular, cone-like shape. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped layer that filters light into the eye and acts as a protective mechanism. The condition typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and causes gradual vision impairments over time. You may not notice any signs in the early stages of keratoconus, which means it's likely to go undiagnosed at first. However, in the later phases, common symptoms of keratoconus include blurred or distorted vision, light sensitivity, and frequent eye prescription changes. At inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa, our expert doctors diagnose keratoconus and offer innovative treatment options to manage your condition and improve your vision.
What are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?
In the earliest stages of keratoconus, many patients are completely asymptomatic, or their symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed. Because keratoconus often appears during adolescence, young people may not recognize or report their symptoms right away, which can further delay a diagnosis. Not only that, but some symptoms of keratoconus mimic the signs and symptoms of other conditions. Still, there are certain symptoms or visual changes to watch for that may be indicative of keratoconus, including:
- Blurry vision
- Frequent changes to your eyeglass prescription
- Poor night vision
- Halos or glares around light
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye irritation
- Headaches/pain behind the eyes
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Diagnosis and Treatment for Keratoconus
Keratoconus is typically a result of hereditary factors, although patients who excessively rub their eyes could also have a higher likelihood of developing the condition. To diagnose keratoconus, a comprehensive eye exam will be performed at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa. The appropriate treatment options will be provided based on the stage and severity of your condition. Patients who are in the early phases of keratoconus may benefit from prescription eyeglasses or scleral contact lenses, which are large-diameter lenses made of gas permeable materials. For later stages of keratoconus, more complex treatments might be required to correct the shape of the cornea and sharpen your vision. Treatment options include corneal cross-linking (a minimally invasive procedure), Intacs corneal implants, phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK), and corneal transplant surgery.
What causes keratoconus?
Physicians and researchers still don’t know exactly what causes keratoconus; however, most believe that patients who develop keratoconus are born with the predisposition for this condition. Also, people who frequently rub their eyes may be at a higher risk for developing keratoconus.
What are the symptoms of keratoconus?
The symptoms of keratoconus often include:
- Halos or glare around lights
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Difficulty with night vision
- Eye pain, irritation, and/or headaches
- A sudden clouding or worsening of the vision
How common is keratoconus?
According to studies, about 1 in every 2000 people is affected by keratoconus.
Can keratoconus go away on its own?
No, keratoconus does not resolve or go away on its own. It is a lifetime disorder that requires management. Keratoconus is an abnormal shaping of your cornea which cannot be permanently changed with contact lenses, medications, or surgery alone.
What happens if keratoconus is left untreated?
If left untreated, keratoconus can lead to serious degradation of your vision and even blindness. That’s why regular eye exams and early treatment at inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa are — so critical to maintaining your eye health.
Ensure Your Vision Health
Keratoconus can affect your ability to see clearly and may interfere with everyday activities, such as reading or driving. The good news is that keratoconus is very treatable when diagnosed by a trained ophthalmology professional. If you have noticed changes to your vision, schedule a visit to inVision Ophthalmology Tuscaloosa. Our skilled team in Tuscaloosa, AL has many years of experience utilizing the latest solutions to improve the eyesight and lives of our patients.