What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a condition that causes your cornea to get progressively thinner and become “cone” shaped. The cone shape forms from a weakening inside the cornea. As it increases in severity it bulging appearance becomes more apparent.
Symptoms of Keratoconus
Keratoconus causes the vision to decrease and in some cases, decrease at a rapid rate. This is due to the cornea now being an irregular shape. At first your vision may be able to be corrected with glasses but these likely need to be updated frequently and eventually, vision may still not feel clear even with the new glasses.
Keratoconus is also known to cause an increase in glare and ghosting of images.
Causes of Keratoconus:
It is not known exactly how keratoconus is caused. Studies have shown that there is a hereditary component which means you have a higher likelihood to develop the condition if one of your parents have it. Keratoconus has also been linked to atopy and eye rubbing. Prolonged eye rubbing from allergies is thought to weaken the cornea and potentially leads to keratoconus.
How do you diagnose Keratoconus?
We use a number of methods at the Wellington Eye Centre. These include changes in vision correction, ocular response analyser (ORA) which looks at the strength of the cornea by how it reacts to a puff of air and using the pentacam, our advanced corneal topographer that is able to show us even mild weakening and potential keratoconus on the back surface of the cornea. The equipment’s ability to achieve this is exciting as it means keratoconus has the potential to be detected early and so treatment for progression can commence at an earlier time than usual and prevent further vision loss.
I have been diagnosed with Keratoconus, is there any point coming in for an appointment?
This depends on your vision. If you are under the care of an optometrist and the vision is stable then an appointment may not be necessary.
If you have any concerns or you feel like your vision is getting worse, we would recommend you book an appointment. Early treatment of keratoconus can stop the vision from getting progressively worse.
Contact the clinic today to book an initial consultation with our team.
Can Keratoconus be cured?
Unfortunately, Keratoconus can’t be cured but it can be treated to prevent further progression with something called collagen cross-linking.
Is Keratoconus painful?
Not usually, it is only at the very advanced stages of keratoconus where the eye may become painful from the condition.
Can you prevent keratoconus?
Not really. The best thing you can do to help decrease the severity and prevent it from getting worse is to not rub your eyes and get treatment as soon as possible. You can screen for keratoconus with the pentacam to pick up any irregularities on the cornea at an earlier time.
How do you treat keratoconus?
The most important thing to do is to prevent progression of keratoconus once you have a diagnosis. The best way to do this is with collagen cross-linking. Collagen cross-linking involves applying a b-vitamin solution to the eye to soak into the cornea and then exposing the cornea to UV light. This causes the collagen in the middle layer of the cornea (the stroma) to strengthen which can halt the weakening that is occurring. Collagen Cross-Linking has been extensively researched and has a proven safety and effectiveness in halting keratoconus progression.
At the Wellington Eye Centre, we have state of the art cross-linking equipment which means it is possible to customise the cross-linking treatment to your eye, treating the weaker parts of your cornea. To find out more contact the clinic and organise a consultation today.
Even after cross-linking treatment glasses and contact lenses may be needed to correct the vision.
The Wellington Eye Centre also performs Keraring surgery to help improve keratonic patients vision. Kerarings are small inserts that flatten the cornea and can help improve a patient’s vision. To find out if you are suitable for kerarings, contact us and organise a consultation with our team today.
In severe cases of keratoconus a corneal graft surgery may be needed. This is usually performed as a last step when there are no other treatment options for the eye.
What are the costs of treatment?
Costs vary depending on which treatment is being performed. A full cost sheet for your individual treatment will be given to you after your consultation. If you have health insurance there is the potential that they will cover some of these treatments depending on your condition.
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