An overview of keratoconus

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As a non-inflammatory degenerative eye disease, keratoconus damages the collagen fibers in the cornea. Patients with keratoconus have weak corneal fibers. And this condition will deteriorate as the time goes by. At a certain stage, the weak fibers cause the cornea to bulge up in a similar way to the condition of a hernia. Keratoconus patients may have difficulty during some day to day activities, e.g. driving and reading, because this disease usually causes impaired or blurry vision. Irregular astigmatism and steepening cornea are also possible during the process of keratoconus progression.

Symptoms possibly linked with keratoconus

It is very important to get early diagnosis of keratoconus once there are some suspected symptoms. They include glare, light sensitivity, frequent prescription changes, progressive nearsightedness, irregular astigmatism, high amounts of astigmatism and so forth. Depending on the severity of the disease, patients may experience mild to serious visual loss in one or both eyes. It is estimated that visual deterioration occurs in both eyes at a percentage of over 90. And more than 6% keratoconus patients suffer visual loss only in one eye. This huge gap is actually because keratoconus can easily strike in one eye first and spread to the other eye. Detecting any of the above signs, it is the time to visit an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Keratoconus detection and diagnosis

Statistics show that 54.5 out of every 100,000 individuals are now affected by keratoconus worldwide. In most cases, surgeons will use corneal topography to map the eyes of a keratoconus patient. This measurement enables the doctor to gain a detailed view of the patient’s corneas. From such an assessment, the doctor can then detect and diagnose keratoconus in the patient. Like nearly all of the other eye diseases, keratoconus requires early detection and treatment. In some cases, the optometrist will first evaluate the patient’s medical history, especially visual symptoms or complaints. In addition, history of ocular disease and related family history will sometimes be assessed.

Some triggering factors

The exact reason for keratoconus is still unclear. The ever conducted and ongoing researches have still now found the detailed etiology of this disease. But they have indicated some possible causes, or more specifically triggering factors, e.g. genetic, environmental or cellular factors.

How to treat this disease

While many keratoconus patients consider LASIK surgery as a good solution, this procedure actually involves some underlying risks of developing postoperative complications and high incidences of causing keratoconus to progress more rapidly. It is dangerous for improperly diagnosed keratoconus patients to receive LASIK. In that case, LASIK-induced keratoconus or keratoectasia may develop. In fact, prescription contact lenses or spectacles are enough to deal with keratoconus when the disease is in early stages, because it only causes mild astigmatism.