In this blog, we will discuss how to prevent keratoconus from getting worse. But before we get into that, let's review what keratoconus is.

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that affects the cornea, which is the front part of your eye. The cornea of a person with keratoconus becomes thinner over time, causing it to protrude outward into a cone-like shape, resulting in an irregular corneal surface.

What are the common symptoms of keratoconus?

A normal cornea is round smooth and has an irregular surface, however, keratoconus results in an irregular shape of the front surface of the eye, which can result in irregular astigmatism as well as scarring of the cornea, causing symptoms such as:

  • Blurry vision
  • Distortions in your vision
  • Shadowing around letters and objects
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Eye redness and swelling

Why does keratoconus occur?

It isn't entirely known what causes keratoconus, or what its mechanism of action is. However, we do know that there is a genetic component to keratoconus, and it is believed that the cornea becomes thinner due to the enzymatic breakdown of collagen structures within the cornea.

What can be done to prevent keratoconus from getting worse?

While there is currently no cure for keratoconus, there are ways to improve your vision and prevent or slow down the progression of keratoconus.

  • Corneal cross-linkingOne treatment option is called corneal cross-linking. A riboflavin mixture and UV light are used in this procedure to stiffen the collagen fibres and strengthen them, thereby slowing down the progression of keratoconus. It may not necessarily improve vision. It aims, however, to strengthen the eye surface cells and activate them so as to slow down keratoconus progression.
  • Intracorneal ring segments - Intracorneal ring segments can also slow down the progression of keratoconus. These are plastic rings that are put into your cornea. The goal of this is to plateau your cornea so it doesn't bulge out and protrude in a cone shape when you have keratoconus.
  • Specialty hard contact lenses - As far as vision correction is concerned, glasses don't actually make a lot of difference because they do not actually sit on the front part of your eyes. As a result, it does not provide the best vision for people with keratoconus.  In order to get the best vision, a specialty hard contact lens is usually used, such as rigid gas permeable lens. It tries to mask the distortions on the eye by creating a new front surface. A scleral lens is an excellent way to improve your vision if you suffer from keratoconus. It is a little larger than standard hard contact lens and they land on the white part of your eye instead of just on your cornea. Essentially, it vaults over that cone-shaped cornea, getting rid of distortion caused by the irregular cornea and creating a new front surface so that your vision can be improved. Learn more about contact lenses for keratoconus.
  • Corneal transplant - If you have very severe keratoconus, your eye doctor may recommend a corneal transplant. Different side effects can result from a corneal transplant, such as various eye conditions. It's usually the last resort, but sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks.
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