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We see through the cornea, which is the clear, central part of the front surface of the eye. Normally, the cornea has a dome shape, like a ball. Sometimes, however, the structure of the cornea is just not strong enough to hold this round shape and the cornea bulges outward like a cone. This condition is called keratoconus.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Tiny fibers of protein in the eye called collagen help hold the cornea in place and keep it from bulging. When these fibers become weak, they cannot hold the shape and the cornea becomes progressively more cone shaped.
Keratoconus appears to run in families. If you have it and have children, it’s a good idea to have their eyes checked for it starting at age 10. The condition happens more often in people with certain medical problems, including certain allergic conditions. It's possible the condition could be related to chronic eye rubbing.
Keratoconus usually starts in the teenage years. It can, though, begin in childhood or in people up to about age 30. It's possible it can occur in people 40 and older, but that is less common.
The changes can result in blurred vision, glare and halos at night, and the streaking of lights.
In most people who have keratoconus, both eyes are eventually affected, although not always to the same extent.
Can Keratoconus Damage Vision?
The changes to the cornea can make it impossible for the eye to focus without eyeglasses or contact lenses. In fact, a corneal transplant may be needed to restore vision if the condition is severe.
Laser vision correction surgery -- LASIK or PRK – can be dangerous for people with Keratoconus. Anyone with even a small degree of keratoconus should not have LASIK surgery.
Sudden change of vision in just one eye
Double vision when looking with just one eye
Objects both near and far looking distorted
Bright lights looking like they have halos around them
Seeing double or triple ghost images
To be sure you have keratoconus, your doctor needs to measure the curvature of the. cornea. There are several different ways this can be done.
One instrument, called a keratometer, shines a pattern of rings of light onto the cornea. The shape of the reflection tells the doctor how the eye is curved. There are also computerized instruments video-keratography that make three-dimensional "maps" of the cornea.This video-keratography is used to diagnose and for followup of the keratoconus during treatment part.
How Is Keratoconus Treated?
Treatment usually starts with new eyeglasses. If eyeglasses don't provide adequate vision, then contact lenses may be recommended. With mild cases, new eyeglasses can usually make vision clear again. Eventually, though, it will probably be necessary to use contact lenses or seek other treatments to strengthen the cornea and improve vision.
Recent advances in the treatment of keratoconus
CXL,Intacs,icl,toric icl as single procedure or in combination of the two.
A last resort is a cornea transplant. This involves removing the center of the cornea and replacing it with a donor cornea that is stitched into place.