Have you got keratoconus?
If you are reading this website it is likely that you have keratoconus or are concerned about a family member or friend with the condition. It is quite normal to be confused and frustrated about this condition, as accurate information is hard to come by. We know that once you have systematically gone through all of this information you will be much more comfortable about understanding keratoconus, it’s treatments and possible outcomes.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea (the curved, clear front surface of the eye) that is often visually debilitating. In Keratoconus there is progressive thinning of the cornea and as a result the cornea develops a cone-like bulge and becomes distorted. The distorted cornea affects the focusing ability of the eye impairing the vision.
Does Keratoconus cause blindness?
No, Keratoconus does not cause blindness. If left untreated, Keratoconus can however lead to significant vision impairment resulting in legal blindness. It is imperative to see someone that specialises in Keratoconus – this will guarantee appropriate treatment.
Who can be affected by Keratoconus?
Keratoconus affects only 1/2000 of the population, so in Australia it is estimated that at least 10,000 people suffer with this condition. Both men and women can develop Keratoconus.
At what age does Keratoconus develop?
The onset of Keratoconus can be anywhere between the ages of 8 and 45. In the majority of cases, Keratoconus presents between the ages of 16 and 30 years.
What causes Keratoconus?
The exact cause of Keratoconus is still unknown however risk factors for developing Keratoconus have been identified including having a family history of Keratoconus, allergies and excessive eye rubbing.
Signs and symptoms of Keratoconus
The signs and symptoms of Keratoconus can include;
- Blurring and distortion of vision that may be corrected by spectacles in the early stages of the condition
- Irregular astigmatism (irregular curvature of the cornea)
- Short-sightedness (myopia)
- Frequent changes to the spectacle prescription
- Once the condition has progressed it is often difficult to satisfactorily correct the vision with glasses. Contact lenses are usually the treatment of choice.
- Light sensitivity
- Keratoconus usually develops in both eyes, but the condition may be significantly advanced in one eye
Treatment options for Keratoconus
When seeking treatment for Keratoconus it is very important to see an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist who is experienced in managing Keratoconus.
As contact lenses are often the best form of vision correction in Keratoconus, it is essential to see an Optometrist who specialises in contact lens fittings.
Most people with Keratoconus, are under the impression that the only form of treatment available is corneal transplantation. There are many treatment options available and only in certain cases is transplantation required. In fact up to 95% of keratoconus can be managed very well with glasses and or specialty contact lenses.
Treatment options for Keratoconus include:
- Soft contact lenses
- Rigid gas permeable contact lenses (when fitted properly this is the most successful option)
- Hybrid contact lenses (SynergeyesTM)
- Mini-scleral contact lenses
- Intacs with Riboflavin cross-linking
- Re-prescribing glasses, soft contact lenses or rigid gas permeable contact lenses after Intacs
- If corneal transplantation is finally required its success rate is greater than 95% when undertaken by an expert corneal surgeon. 40% of people having corneal transplants will require contact lenses again and the vast remaining number will require some form of spectacles.
Unfortunately, the reality is that many people with Keratoconus struggle to function in every-day life due to inappropriate treatment options or advice.
Fortunately, you can be different! For more information on Keratoconus including advice on treatment options.
We fit all forms of specialised keratoconus designed contact lenses.
- If a design cannot be found from an Australian laboratory we also fit many lenses from as far away as New Zealand, Israel and the USA.For more information visit our website which will update you on what is the latest information on this frustrating condition. Remember though Keratoconus does not have be a disaster. If you consult with experts your mind will be put to rest.