Keratoconus is a degenerative non-inflammatory eye disease which results in thinning of the cornea and it changing to the cone shape from its normal spherical shape. The underlying cause of the condition is related to the disorder of mechanical properties of the corneal matter. The fibers that form the structure of the cornea start losing its strength. The cornea protrudes under the effect of intraocular pressure. Generally, the condition affects both eyes.
When does the onset of keratoconus occur?
Usually the condition first occurs in teenagers, however, it is sometimes encountered in young adults, before 30. The cornea changes its shape slowly, generally within several years. However, a more rapid progression of keratoconus has been reported.
The causes behind keratoconus are still unclear. It can be triggered by a number of factors such as:
- adverse environmental conditions;
- metabolism disorders of the endocrine system;
- eye trauma.
Another important factor is heredity, therefore, people who have relatives with diagnosed keratoconus should regularly examine their vision starting from childhood. Ophthalmologists report growing incidence of keratoconus in past decade. This can be attributed to better diagnostic facilities, on the one hand, and to the deterioration of environmental conditions, on the other hand.
Why is keratoconus dangerous?
Cone-shaped cornea refracts light unevenly at different point which leads to reduction of visual acuity (as is the case with myopia), blurry vision and perceived broken lines (as with astigmatism). As keratoconus progresses, it becomes difficult to select suitable optical correction methods. It may be impossible to correct vision using soft or rigid contact lenses due to intolerance. At severe stages, the patient’s cornea is so thin that it may rupture, which becomes extremely painful. If uncontrolled, keratoconus may lead to loss of vision.
Diagnostics of keratoconus
Keratoconus, especially at its early stages, is often mistaken for myopia or astigmatism, as the visual signs are similar. The true cause of vision reduction can be diagnosed only during comprehensive examination of the visual apparatus using modern diagnostics equipment.
Symptoms of keratoconus
- Impossible to correct vision aberrations using conventional optics (glasses, contact lenses);
- progressing loss of vision acuity;
- vision aberrations similar to those of astigmatism;
- halos and strobing at nighttime;
- at the later stages cone-shape cornea protrusion becomes visible.
These symptoms must be a cause of action for people with genetic predisposition to keratoconus.
Modern PC-based diagnostics equipment at Excimer helps diagnose this condition at the earliest stages and guarantee correct diagnosis. If keratoconus is confirmed, your attending physician will provide a customized treatment plan according to the stage of the disease.