Comprehensive Guide to Keratoconus: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Keratoconus, a vision disorder that affects the shape of the cornea, leading to visual impairment. Dr Anthony Maloof is committed to providing you with the most detailed and up-to-date information on this condition to help you understand it better. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for Keratoconus.

Understanding Keratoconus

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disorder that primarily affects the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. In a healthy eye, the cornea is typically dome-shaped, but in individuals with Keratoconus, it becomes thin and bulges into a cone-like shape. This alteration in corneal shape can lead to significant visual distortion.

Guide to Keratoconus - eye suffering with Keratoconus.
Keratoconus eye.

Causes of Keratoconus

The exact cause of Keratoconus is still not fully understood, but there are several factors that may contribute to its development, including:

  • Genetics: Research suggests that genetics play a significant role in Keratoconus. If you have a family history of the condition, you may be at a higher risk.
  • Eye Rubbing: Excessive eye rubbing can weaken the cornea and increase the risk of developing Keratoconus.
  • Allergies: Chronic eye allergies can lead to frequent eye rubbing, which, in turn, may contribute to the development of Keratoconus.
Eye rubbing effects your cornea and corneal transplants
Rubbing your eyes can make Keratoconus worse!

Recognizing the Symptoms

Early Symptoms

  • Blurred Vision: One of the initial signs of Keratoconus is blurred or distorted vision.
  • Frequent Prescription Changes: Individuals with Keratoconus often require frequent changes in their eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions.
Blurry vision

Advanced Symptoms

As Keratoconus progresses, more severe symptoms may become evident:

  • Increased Light Sensitivity: Individuals may become more sensitive to light, making it uncomfortable to be in brightly lit environments.
  • Ghosting of Images: Double vision or the appearance of multiple ghost images can occur.

Diagnosis and Testing

If you suspect you have Keratoconus or have experienced any of the mentioned symptoms, it is crucial to consult an eye specialist. Diagnosis typically involves a thorough eye examination, including:

  • Corneal Topography: This test maps the shape of the cornea and can accurately detect abnormalities associated with Keratoconus.
  • Slit-Lamp Examination: A specialized microscope is used to examine the cornea’s surface closely.
Corneal topography showing advanced Keratoconus on the right image.
Corneal Topography – image on the right showing advanced Keratoconus

Treatment Options

Non-Surgical Treatments

Prescription Eyeglasses

In the early stages of Keratoconus, prescription eyeglasses can help improve vision by compensating for corneal distortion.

Contact Lenses

Specially designed contact lenses, such as rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses or scleral lenses, can provide clearer vision by fitting over the irregular corneal surface.

Surgical Interventions

Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL)

Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive procedure that strengthens the cornea, preventing further bulging. It can help slow or halt the progression of Keratoconus.

CXL – Collagen Cross Linking in progress.

Corneal Transplant

In severe cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary to replace the damaged cornea with a healthy donor cornea.

Post corneal transplant for Keratoconus
Post corneal transplant for Keratoconus

In conclusion, Keratoconus is a complex eye disorder that can significantly impact one’s vision and quality of life. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential in managing this condition effectively. Dr Anthony Maloof is dedicated to providing you with the most comprehensive and informative content to help you understand Keratoconus better. If you suspect you have Keratoconus or are seeking more information, please consult with an eye specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Remember that your eye health is of utmost importance, and early intervention can make a significant difference. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and take care of your vision.

We can help

If you suffer from a corneal issue and think we can help, then you can request an appointment online or call the clinic on 1300 393 322. We have 2 Sydney locations for consultation, Westmead and the city on Macquarie Street opposite the Eye Hospital.