Eye Diseases: Keratoconus
Corneal problems are what lead to corrective eyewear and Optilase meet many patients who suffer from progressive diseases of the eye that may impact their candidacy for corrective laser eye surgery.
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease, in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. In patients with keratoconus, the cornea is cone shaped -hence the name keratoconus, derived from the Greek word for cornea (‘kerato’) and cone shaped (‘conus’).
The cornea is not only cone shaped, the surface is also irregular or warped, resulting in a distorted image being projected. The distorted cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, impeding clear vision and impacting the image formed on the retina.
Keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes and often begins during a person’s teens or early 20s.
Keratoconus Symptoms and Signs
As the cornea becomes increasingly irregular in shape, it causes progressive near-sightedness and irregular astigmatism to develop. This in turn causes additional problems with distorted and blurred vision; often problems with glare and extreme light sensitivity also may occur.
Keratoconic patients may discover that they need changes in their eyeglass prescription every single time they visit their eye care practitioner, such is the rate of corneal distortion.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Research suggests that the weakening of the corneal tissue that leads to keratoconus may be due to an imbalance of enzymes within the cornea.
This imbalance makes the cornea more susceptible to oxidative damage from compounds called free radicals, causing it to weaken and bulge forward.
Risk factors for oxidative damage and weakening of the cornea include a genetic predisposition, explaining why keratoconus often affects more than one member of the same family.
Keratoconus also is associated with overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, excessive eye rubbing, a history of poorly fitted contact lenses and chronic eye irritation.
In mild forms of keratoconus, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may help. But as the disease progresses and the cornea thins and becomes increasingly more irregular in shape, glasses and regular soft contact lens designs no longer provide adequate vision correction.
Corneal cross-linking is one of the treatments for more severe keratoconus, and the condition will impede standard laser eye surgery in patients who have the condition.
To make an appointment to discover if you may be a candidate from laser eye surgery, call Optilase on 1 890 301 302 or see www.optilase.com