What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye disease which affects the front part of the eye, the cornea, causing it to become thin and cone-shaped, instead of round. The abnormal cone shape of the cornea causes light to not be focused on the retina correctly and causes distorted vision.  

What are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?  

One of the earliest symptoms of keratoconus is blurry vision or vision which is getting progressively worse. Other symptoms of keratoconus could include difficulty seeing at night, an increase in sensitivity to bright lights, seeing halos or a glare around lights, headaches with eye pain, or a sudden clouding of vision.  

What are the Risk Factors for Keratoconus?  

  • Age: Many people are diagnosed with keratoconus when they are teenagers. Young people diagnosed with keratoconus are likely to need surgery as the keratoconus progresses.  
  • Family History: People who have a family history of the disease or systemic disorders such as Down syndrome are at risk for keratoconus.  
  • Chronic Eye Inflammation: People who suffer from eye inflammation due to chronic allergies or irritants are at risk, as these may contribute to harming the corneal tissue which can result in keratoconus.  
  • Eye Rubbing: People who frequently rub their eyes may be more prone to developing keratoconus, as chronic eye rubbing is associated with developing the disease.  

How is Keratoconus Diagnosed? 

Dr. Kazem at Lawrenceville Family Eyecare can diagnose keratoconus during a comprehensive eye exam by learning more about family eye health history and by tests that determine the shape of the cornea. One such test is the slit-lamp exam, in which Dr. Kazem will shine a light on your eye, then will use a microscope to examine your eye to see the shape of the cornea.  

Other tests can include optical coherence tomography and corneal topography to render a digital map of the surface of the cornea and to measure the thickness of the cornea.  

What are the Treatments for Keratoconus?  

People who have a mild to moderate case of keratoconus can benefit from specialty contact lenses to correct their vision.  

For progressive cases of keratoconus, an outpatient procedure known as cross-linking may be recommended to stop the progression of the disease and in some cases even reverse it.  

If the disease has progressed to a very advanced stage where loss of sight could occur, then corneal transplant surgery may be recommended, but even after corneal transplant surgery, eyeglasses or contact lenses may still be needed to correct vision.  

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of keratoconus, schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Kazem at Lawrenceville Family Eyecare, one of the top eyecare practices in the Atlanta area, today.