Keratoconus is an eye condition which makes the cornea to become thin and bulge into the form of cone-like shape. This can cause distorted or blurry vision, increased light sensitivity and frequent changes in your contact lens or eyeglass prescriptions. It usually affects both the eyes and starts during the adolescence or early adulthood period. There are severe cases when you might require a corneal transplant to restore your eyesight.
Different kinds of Keratoconus
Below are nine types of keratoconus that have been identified:
- Classical Keratoconus: This is common type of keratoconus characterized by steepening and thinning of the cornea causing cone-like shape.
- Pellucid Marginal Degeneration: This kind of keratoconus may affect lower part of the cornea, causing it to thin and protrude and forming irregular astigmatism.
- Forme Fruste Keratoconus: This mild form is usually difficult to identify as there may not be any signs or symptoms.
- Keratoglobus: This rare form of keratoconus can affect the entire cornea, causing it to bulge outwards and become weak and thin.
- Anterior Keratoconus: This keratoconus affects front surface of your cornea, causing it to become thin and steep, resulting in distorted and blurred vision.
- Posterior Keratoconus: Keratoconus can affect the back surface of the cornea, causing distorted vision and irregular astigmatism.
- Keratoconus in Children: Though keratoconus is more common in the case of adults, it may even happen in children. This can be the reason for significant vision problems, when not treated on time
- Keratoconus with Acute Hydrops: This is a rare complication of keratoconus which happens when sudden accumulation of fluid causes cornea to rupture and swell, resulting in sudden vision loss.
- Post-LASIK Keratectasia: This is a rare and serious complication of LASIK surgery where cornea bulges outwards and becomes unstable causing, blurred and distorted vision.
Causes of Keratoconus
The exact cause of keratoconus is not known though some people believe to be influenced by environmental and genetic factors. The condition may be caused due to imbalance of enzymes within the cornea which causes thinning and weakening of the tissue. Other factors that contribute to the development of keratoconus are – allergies, severe eye rubbing and connective tissue disorders. Besides, hormonal imbalances, oxidative stress and certain medications may play a vital role in the development of keratoconus.
Symptoms of Keratoconus
Some symptoms of Keratoconus are the following:
- Distorted or blurred vision
- Fatigue or eye strain
- Increased light sensitivity
- Irritation to the eyes or itching
- Double vision
- Eye rubbing
- Frequent changes in contact lens or eye glass prescriptions
- Improper night vision
- Glare or halos around lights
- Ghosting or overlapping of images
But certain symptoms might be related to other disorders and so, you need to consult with the ophthalmologist and get yourself tested on time.
Treatment options for Keratoconus
Some treatment options of keratoconus treatment are the following:
- Eyeglasses: Wearing eyeglasses can correct the problem of mild to moderate astigmatism. This can also improve your eyesight during the early stage of keratoconus. With the progession of this condition, eyeglasses may not provide you sufficient vision correction.
- Contact lenses: There are specialized contact lenses like sclera lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses that can be used for the correction of vision in keratoconus patients. These lenses provide uniform surface for light to enter into the eyes by compensating for abnormal shape of cornea.
- Cross-linking: Corneal cross-linking is minimally invasive method that involves the application of special UV-activated solution to your cornea and exposes it to UV light. This causes collagen fibers within the cornea to make stronger bonds, which stop the progression of keratoconus and avoid further thinning of cornea.
- Intrastromal corneal ring segments: These small plastic inserts are also called Intacs which are surgically placed in your cornea for reshaping and supporting it. Intacs can help to improve eyesight and lessen the need for contact lenses or eye glasses in keratoconus patients.
- Corneal transplant: There are advanced cases of keratoconus where vision can significantly be impaired with the help of a corneal transplant. A portion of damaged cornea gets removed and replaced with donor cornea in this method. This is generally reserved for the cases where other treatment options have not worked.
The treatment for keratoconus will depend on the severity of your condition and specific requirements of the patient. An ophthalmologist can manage the symptoms of keratoconus and suggest you the right treatment for improving your eyesight.
Thus, keratoconus is a complex eye condition with several causes, symptoms and types though there are effective treatment options such as – contact lenses, eye glasses, cross-linking, corneal transplant and intrastromal corneal ring segments. It is possible to manage the condition and restore your vision. You need to consult your ophthalmologist for treating keratoconus with proper diagnosis of the condition.