Keratoconus

woman undergoing cornea curvature testing

While keratoconus can happen at any stage of life, young people between the ages of 10 and 25 are most likely to develop this disorder. For individuals with keratoconus, their cornea, the clear layer in the front of your eye, gradually thins and begins to bulge outward. Keratoconus typically causes nearsightedness and astigmatism in both eyes.

The first signs of keratoconus are rapid changes in vision that require frequent adjusting of prescription lenses. Other symptoms include increased sensitivity to light, eyes strain and irritation, halos around lights at night, headaches and an incessant urge to rub your eyes. Eventually, the corneas become noticeably cone shaped.

Keratoconus is the most common type of corneal dystrophy, or degenerative corneal disorder. It affects one in every 2,000 Americans, according to the National Eye Institute.

Diagnosis

Many symptoms of keratoconus are similar to those of other corneal disorders, especially during the onset of the condition. This makes keratoconus difficult to diagnose.

Nonetheless, to diagnose keratoconus, ophthalmologists use a slit lamp to inspect your cornea at the microscopic level. Telltale signs of keratoconus include corneal thinning, an iron-colored ring around the cone-shaped cornea, stress lines and scarring at the top of the cone. Your eye doctor will also use instruments and lights to measure the curvature of your cornea.

Causes and Risk Factors

Researchers are not exactly sure why some people develop keratoconus. Leading theories center on genetics, environment and hormones. Some scientists have noted a slightly higher chance of developing keratoconus if a family member has it, but this correlation has not been proven with absolute certainty. Possible environmental causes include allergies that lead to excessive eye rubbing or poorly fitted contact lenses. Some researchers hypothesize that keratoconus is related to the endocrine system (the collection of glands that secrete certain hormones), because the onset often happens at puberty and worsens during pregnancy.

Treatment

Usually, the cornea stabilizes, so vision can be corrected with glasses or contacts. But between 10 and 20 percent of people with keratoconus will have more severe problems that require an alternative form of treatment, such as the following

Corneal Crosslinking. Healthy corneas keep their shape because cross-linked collagen fibers serve as supports. Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) involves saturating the cornea with riboflavin drops and activating them with an ultraviolet light. This strengthens the cornea by increasing the amount of collagen cross-linking. While CXL doesn’t cure keratoconus, it can arrest the progress of the disorder.

Intacs Surgery. Your eye doctor may suggest inserting Intacs, extremely thin plastic semi-circles. These flatten the cornea, improving vision. You may or may not still need to wear prescription lenses after Intacs surgery.

Corneal transplant. If keratoconus progresses until the cornea is too thin or scarred to tolerate contacts, your ophthalmologist may recommend a corneal transplant. According to the National Eye Institute, this operation is successful in more than 90 percent of those suffering from advanced keratoconus.

If you are experiencing signs of keratoconus, call us so we can diagnose your vision condition and suggest an appropriate plan of action for your visual needs.

Exclusive Offer

New patients receive 15% OFF* first visit.

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

9:30 am-7:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

8:30 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Announcements

  • "Resler-Kerber #1!

    Thank you North County for voting
    Resler-Kerber Optometry, Inc. #1"

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

  • New Year, New Vision in 2020

    Tired of squinting when you read? Add an eye exam to your list of New Year's resolutions. ...

    Read More
  • How To Read Your Eyeglass Prescription

    Have you ever wondered what your eyeglass prescription says about your vision? ...

    Read More
  • Are Floaters A Sign Of Something Bigger?

    Worried about floaters? Find out when this common vision symptom can be a sign of a serious problem. ...

    Read More
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Why do I need to see an eye care provider? Many “silent” diseases, such as glaucoma and diabetes, can only be detected through regular eye exams. When these conditions are discovered earlier rather than later, they become easier to treat or manage, allowing for better long-term preservation of eyesight. ...

    Read More
  • Pediatric Ophthlamology

    Ophthalmology addresses the physiology, anatomy and diseases of the eyes. Pediatric ophthalmology focuses on the eyes of children. Pediatric ophthalmologists examine children’s eyes to see if they need corrective lenses or other treatments to improve their vision. Training for Pediatric Ophthalmologists Pediatric ...

    Read More
  • Allergies

    Caused by the same irritants as hay fever, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, eye allergies commonly affect those who suffer from other allergy symptoms. Not only do eye allergies cause discomfort, but they can also interfere with daily activities. Eye Allergy Causes Medically referred to as allergic ...

    Read More
  • Learning-Related Vision Problems

    Learning disabilities may include dyslexia, math disorder, writing disorder, auditory processing deficits, or visual processing deficits. Although each child with a learning disability is unique, many also have associated visual problems. Addressing these vision disorders may alleviate some symptoms ...

    Read More
  • UV Radiation and Your Eyes

    Optometry warnings about the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation on our eyes have not yet reached the degree of public awareness of that of skin damage. Yet, the sun can be just as damaging upon our eyes with unprotected exposure. Short-term exposure to very bright sunlight can result in a type ...

    Read More
  • How To Protect Your Eyes While Wearing Halloween-Themed Contact Lenses

    Spooky novelty contact lenses can make your Halloween costume even scarier, but are they safe? ...

    Read More
  • Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy

    Fuchs' dystrophy (pronounced fooks DIS-truh-fee) is an eye disease characterized by degenerative changes to the cornea’s innermost layer of cells. The cause for Fuchs' dystrophy is not fully understood. If your mother or father has the disease, then there is roughly a 50 percent chance that you will ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles