What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a rare disease that affects the cornea of the eyes, the clear surface of the central front part of the eye. In keratoconus, a certain section of the cornea thins and begins to bulge outward; vision is compromised, often severely. The causes of keratoconus are not known, although the possibility of another relative having the disease may be as high as 1:10.
What are the symptoms of Keratoconus?
Initial symptoms of keratoconus are glare, light sensitivity, and irritation, although different patients experience this first state in varying degrees. Most keratoconus patients are diagnosed in their late teen years or early twenties. As keratoconus progresses, the cornea will become more steep and possibly develop scars, which will affect the patient's vision. In some cases, the cornea may swell and crack. As the crack heals, more scar tissue forms resulting in more distorted vision. It should be stated that while rubbing the eye does not cause keratoconus, it can exacerbate the condition.
How is Keratoconus?
Most patients are able to control the thinning and bulging of the cornea by the use of glasses and custom-made contact lenses and still maintain acceptable vision. For other patients, surgical options need to be considered, the most common of which is corneal transplant. Corneal transplant, while it may alleviate the distortion of vision present in patients with severe keratoconus, also presents risks such as transplant infection, transplant rejection, and vision more blurred than before the transplant.