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Keratoconus Eye Care at Optique
There are many reasons to see our optometrist for regular eye exams, and the early detection of eye diseases like keratoconus is a big one. This is a condition that can be screened for and detected during a routine annual eye exam. That early detection, in turn, will allow you to receive treatment before the disease starts to noticeably impact your vision.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye disease characterized by thinning of the cornea, which is the curved front part of your eye. As your cornea becomes thinner, it has increased difficulty maintaining its shape, and so it can begin to protrude outward slightly, taking on a more cone-like shape in the process. That change in the shape of your cornea is what leads to the distortion of the light rays as they enter your eye, making it difficult for your retina to focus the light properly.
Keratoconus Symptoms and Risk Factors
In the early stages, keratoconus symptoms are relatively mild, and they include slightly distorted or blurred vision. You may also experience a heightened sensitivity to light or glare. Initial symptoms of this disease usually occur in the late teens or early 20s. Over the next 10 to 20 years after the onset of symptoms, your vision will gradually worsen, leading to the need for stronger prescriptions and possibly the inability to wear contacts.
The precise causes of keratoconus are unknown, but the disease is associated with several other underlying conditions or risk factors. These include seasonal allergies, allergic dermatitis, asthma, Down’s syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. There may be some hereditary link as well, although your chances of developing keratoconus if a direct relative also has it are about 10%.
Keratoconus Treatment from Our Optometrist
Early on, treatment for keratoconus usually involves prescription lenses to correct your vision, while the progression of your symptoms may be slowed by the use of a collagen cross-linking technique. This keratoconus treatment utilizes vitamin B12 eye drops and directed UV light to strengthen your corneas and help them hold their shape.
Other treatment options include intacts, which are surgically inserted into your eye to help your cornea return to its more natural curvature. Once the disease has progressed beyond the ability of these types of treatments to provide sufficient correction, a corneal transplant may be recommended.
One of the most important things to remember if you have keratoconus is not to rub your eyes. Excessive eye rubbing can contribute to the thinning of your cornea, speeding the progression of your disease and causing your vision to deteriorate more quickly.
To learn more about the keratoconus treatment we provide, call our office in Dallas today at (214) 252-1800.