Keratoconus is a corneal disease that occurs when the normally round dome-shaped cornea (the clear outer area of the eye) progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop. Typically diagnosed during adolescence and early adulthood with a variable rate of progression.The bulging or “cone-shaped” protrusion is caused by the normal pressure of the eye pushing out on the thinned areas of the cornea. Since the cornea is responsible for refracting most of the light coming into your eye, an abnormal-shaped cornea can create reduced visual acuity and affect the way you see. This reduced visual acuity can make even simple daily tasks, such as driving, watching television or reading, difficult to perform.
The earliest symptom is subtle blurring of vision that is not correctable with glasses. (Vision is generally correctable to 20/20 with gas permeable contact lenses )
What causes keratoconus?
Doctors do not know for sure why people have keratoconus. In some cases, it appears to be genetic (passed down in families). About 1 out of 10 people with keratoconus have a parent who has it too.
Keratoconus often starts when people are in their late teens to early 20s. The vision symptoms slowly get worse over a period of about 10 to 20 years.
Keratoconus is more common in contact lens wearers and people with nearsighted eyes. Some researchers believe that allergy may play a role.
Keratoconus treatment depends on your symptoms. When your symptoms are mild, your vision can be corrected with eyeglasses. Later you may need to wear special hard contact lenses to help keep vision in proper focus.
Here are other ways that your ophthalmologist might treat keratoconus: