Contact lenses can be used for improving your vision and comfort if you have keratoconus. But before we get into that, let's review keratoconus.

What is keratoconus?

It is a progressive eye disease that affects the cornea, which is the front part of your eye. It causes your cornea to become increasingly thinner over time, causing it to bulge out like a cone and protrude outward, resulting in an irregular corneal surface. Learn more about keratoconus.

What are the symptoms of keratoconus?

The cornea is normally round, smooth, and has a regular surface. Keratoconus, however, causes an irregular shape of the front surface of your eye, which may result in irregular astigmatism, scarring of the cornea, and eventually, the following symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Distortions in your vision
  • Shadows around letters and objects
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • A severe case of keratoconus can also eventually lead to pain because certain areas of the cornea can become really thin and rupture.

How do contact lenses help treat keratoconus?

When it comes to improving the vision of a patient with keratoconus, contact lenses are usually the best option. As glasses don't lie directly on the front surface of the eyes, if a keratoconic patient wears glasses, it wouldn't really help to provide the best vision.

On the other hand, hard contact lens creates a new optical surface for the eye and is used to mask the irregular front surface of the keratoconic eye.

Which contact lenses are best for keratoconus?

There are various different contact lens options for keratoconus. These options are discussed below:

  • Rigid gas permeable lens - One of these contact lens options is a rigid gas permeable lens. The rigid gas permeable lens is a hard corneal contact lens that fits over the eye.
  • Piggyback lens - Our eye doctor may also fit you with piggyback lenses. Piggyback lens essentially means putting in a soft contact lens underneath first and then putting a hard contact lens on top of that which is just for comfort.
  • Hybrid lens - A hybrid lens has a hard lens in the middle and has a soft skirt on the edges which is essentially just for comfort because if you are wearing a hard contact lens for the first time, getting used to it can be a little bit uncomfortable. So that soft skirt on the edges can provide a bit more comfort.
  • Scleral lens -The use of scleral contact lenses is often considered the gold standard for improving vision for someone with keratoconus. They are really amazing because they are larger than normal contact lenses and they land on the white part of your eye. This lens is going to cover entirely the keratoconic irregular front surface of your cornea and it doesn't necessarily touch the cornea, which is often sensitive for patients with keratoconus. The scleral lens is filled with saline solution before it is placed in your eye, and then as soon as it is placed on your eye, the fluid layer and the front surface of the lens will get rid of the distortions caused by your irregular cornea. Thus, by creating this new front surface, your vision will be improved, and because it sits on the less sensitive sclera (white) of the eye and is filled with saline, it also provides enhanced comfort.

Learn more about the best contact lenses for keratoconus.

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