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Keratoconus - Q&A Page

Keratoconus is a chronic eye disorder where the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, thins and bulges outward in a cone-like shape.

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How is keratoconus diagnosed?

Keratoconus is typically diagnosed by our eye care professional during a comprehensive eye exam. The doctor will use a variety of diagnostic tools, including a corneal topographer, to measure the shape of the cornea and determine if it is cone-like. They may also perform a visual acuity test, which measures how well you see at different distances, and a refraction test, which determines your eyeglass prescription.

How is keratoconus treated?

Treatment for keratoconus depends on the severity of the condition and the individual's symptoms. Some common treatment options include eyeglasses or contact lenses, which can help improve vision and reduce the symptoms of keratoconus. In more severe cases, doctors may recommend corneal collagen crosslinking, which involves applying a special solution to the cornea to strengthen it and prevent further bulging. Another option is intrastromal corneal ring segments (ICRS), a small ring that is implanted into the cornea to reshape it and improve vision. In the most severe cases, a corneal transplant may be recommended. If you are experiencing symptoms of keratoconus, call us to schedule an evaluation today.

Can keratoconus be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent keratoconus, as the exact cause of the disease is not fully understood. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and reduce the need for invasive treatments. Additionally, avoiding activities that put excessive strain on the eyes, such as excessive eye rubbing, can help to reduce the risk of developing keratoconus. It is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to manage any underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing the disease, such as allergies or certain connective tissue disorders.

Are there any self-care tips for managing keratoconus?

Patients with keratoconus should avoid rubbing their eyes and should use lubricating eye drops to relieve dryness and discomfort. They should also protect their eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses or a hat, and should be careful when using eye makeup, as certain products can irritate the eyes. Additionally, it is important to keep up with regular eye exams to monitor the progression of the disease and adjust treatment as needed.

Is keratoconus a serious condition?

Keratoconus can be serious if it is left untreated. It can lead to distorted vision, increased sensitivity to light, and a greater risk of eye infections. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed and vision can be maintained.

Is there a cure for keratoconus?

Currently, there is no known cure for keratoconus. However, with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed and vision can be maintained. The goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms and prevent the disease from progressing to a point where it causes significant visual impairment or blindness. Treatment options such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, corneal collagen crosslinking, intrastromal corneal ring segments (ICRS), and corneal transplant can be used to improve vision and slow the progression of the disease. In some cases, a corneal transplant may be used to replace the damaged cornea with a healthy one, but it is not a cure, but only a replacement.

Can keratoconus be treated with surgery?

Yes, in more advanced cases of keratoconus, surgery may be recommended as a treatment option. Some common surgical options include corneal collagen crosslinking, intrastromal corneal ring segments (ICRS), and corneal transplant. Surgery can help to reshape the cornea and improve vision, but it is not always necessary and will depend on the individual case.

Can keratoconus be treated with contact lenses?

Yes, contact lenses can be a very effective treatment option for keratoconus. They can help to correct the distorted vision caused by the disease and reduce symptoms like sensitivity to light and glare. However, the type of contact lens used will depend on the severity of the disease and the individual's needs. Some patients may require special contact lenses, such as scleral lenses or hybrid lenses, which are designed specifically for individuals with keratoconus.

Can keratoconus be treated with glasses?

Yes, glasses can be used as a treatment option for keratoconus, particularly in the early stages of the disease. They can help to correct the distorted vision caused by the disease and reduce symptoms like sensitivity to light and glare. However, as the disease progresses, glasses may not be sufficient to correct vision, and more advanced treatment options such as contact lenses or surgery may be necessary.

Can keratoconus be treated with eye drops?

Eye drops alone may not be sufficient to treat keratoconus, but they can be used as a complementary treatment to other forms of therapy. Lubricating eye drops may be used to relieve dryness and discomfort associated with keratoconus, and anti-inflammatory drops may be used to reduce inflammation and pain. However, it is important to consult with our qualified eye care professional before using any eye drops, as some drops can cause irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals.

Will my vision improve with keratoconus treatment?

The outcome of keratoconus treatment depends on the severity of the disease and the stage of progression at the time of treatment. In early stages, glasses or contact lenses can help to improve vision, but as the disease progresses, the vision may not improve as much. In advanced cases, a corneal transplant may be the only option to restore vision. However, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help to slow the progression of the disease and prevent the vision from worsening.

Will my keratoconus get worse over time?

The progression of keratoconus can vary from person to person, and it can be difficult to predict how quickly it will progress. Some people may experience a rapid progression of the disease, while others may have a more gradual progression. However, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help to slow the progression of the disease and prevent the vision from worsening. Regular eye exams are important to monitor the progression of the disease, and adjust treatment as necessary. It is also important to be compliant with the treatment plan prescribed by our eye doctor, as well as adhering to self-care tips to manage the symptoms.

Can keratoconus lead to blindness?

In rare cases, if left untreated, keratoconus can lead to blindness. However, with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the progression of the disease can be slowed and vision can be maintained. It is important to consult with our eye care professional to determine the best course of treatment and to monitor the disease's progression. In advanced cases, a corneal transplant may be the only option to restore vision but still it is not guaranteed as the outcome of the surgery may vary. It's important to address any symptoms or concerns you may have with our eye care professional to ensure that you receive an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Can keratoconus be hereditary?

There is a genetic component to keratoconus and it tends to run in families. Studies have shown that individuals with a family history of keratoconus are more likely to develop the disease. However, it is important to note that not all cases of keratoconus are hereditary and environmental factors such as excessive eye rubbing, certain eye diseases and disorders, and a history of allergies can also contribute to the development of the disease.

Can keratoconus be treated with laser surgery?

Yes, laser surgery can be used as a treatment option for keratoconus. One of the most common laser surgeries for keratoconus is called corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL). This procedure uses a combination of ultraviolet light and riboflavin eye drops to strengthen the cornea and slow the progression of the disease. Another laser surgery option is laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK) which is a procedure to remove a small amount of the surface of the cornea to improve vision. The best treatment option for an individual will depend on the severity of their condition, their visual needs and the surgeon's recommendation.

Can keratoconus be detected in a routine eye exam?

Keratoconus can be detected in a routine eye exam, but it may not be diagnosed if the disease is in its early stages. It is important to consult with our eye care professional if you have any symptoms of keratoconus, or if you have a family history of the disease, to ensure that you receive a comprehensive eye exam that includes diagnostic tools like corneal topographer.

 

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