Causes, Treatment and Stages of Keratoconus

Causes, Treatment and Stages of Keratoconus

Keratoconus affects about 1 in every 400 Indians. Although researchers continue to study it, they still have not pinpointed a cause for this eye condition. However, they have identified multiple risk factors that may indicate that you are more like to develop keratoconus. Some of those risk factors here:

  • Genetics
  • Eye Rubbing

Other Diseases and Conditions

  • Asthma
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

If you fall into any of the aforementioned categories, stay alert for signs of keratoconus.

Stages of keratoconus

Early Keratoconus

The patient will experience minimal corneal distortion in the earliest stage of keratoconus. This may not affect vision. At this stage, we recommend eyeglasses to restore vision.

Moderate Keratoconus

Corneal distortion increases as changes in the cornea become obvious. Rigid gas-permeable lenses can be a great option to restore your vision. Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses will neutralize 90% of the corneal distortion. These lenses are perfect for myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism and are available in various diameters. You must also have regular exams to check and see if your condition has progressed. These exams are also beneficial in ensuring that your lenses fit you well and that your eye is still in good shape.

Advanced Keratoconus

In the advanced stages of keratoconus, slight to moderate cornea scarring is present. However, corneal distortion is very substantial in this stage.

Severe Keratoconus

In this final stage, corneal distortion is dramatic, and corneal thinning and scarring are substantial. Patients in this last stage will have reduced contact lens tolerance and find it very hard to find a comfortable pair of lenses. At this stage, you may be referred to a corneal surgeon to see if you are a good candidate for a corneal transplant.

Treatment for keratoconus

Keratoconus treatment depends on its severity and its progression. Generally, there are two approaches taken to treat keratoconus: slowing the progression of the disease and improving your vision.

Lenses

  • Eyeglasses or soft contact lenses
  • Hard contact lenses
  • Piggyback lenses
  • Hybrid lenses
  • Scleral lenses

If you’re using scleral or rigid contact lenses, have them fitted by an eye doctor with experience in treating keratoconus. You’ll also need regular checkups to determine whether the fitting remains satisfactory. An ill-fitting lens can damage your cornea.

Surgery

You may need surgery if you have a very severe case of keratoconus, which includes extreme thinning of your cornea, corneal scarring, poor vision with the strongest prescription lenses, or an inability to wear any contact lens. Depending on the location, surgical options are the following:

  • Penetrating keratoplasty. You’ll likely need a cornea transplant (keratoplasty) if you have corneal scarring or extreme thinning. Penetrating keratoplasty is a full-cornea transplant. Doctors remove a full-thickness portion of your central cornea and replace it with donor tissue in this procedure.
  • Deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK). The DALK procedure preserves the inside lining of the cornea (endothelium). This helps avoid the rejection of this critical inside lining that can occur with a full-thickness transplant.

Do you think you have an eye problem and vision discomfort? Are you looking for a good ophthalmologist for consultation or treatment for keratoconus? Feel free to contact or book an appointment with us right now.

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