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Sep 27th 2023 Posted by Accuspire

​Understanding Keratoconus: Causes, Progression, and Management

Keratoconus is a relatively rare eye disease, affecting approximately one in every 1000 people. This condition leads to significant distortion in vision but does not result in blindness. It primarily affects the cornea, causing it to assume a dome-shaped or cone-like structure. The cornea, located at the front of the eye, plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina. When the cornea is altered due to keratoconus, it affects the brain's ability to interpret visual information accurately, resulting in blurry vision.

Gradual Progression 

Keratoconus typically manifests in the teenage years, with its progression being gradual. It can take up to 20 years to reach a severe stage. However, each individual's experience with keratoconus is unique. In the early stages, symptoms are mild, often leading patients to underestimate the condition. Sensitivity to light is a common early sign.

Advanced Stages As keratoconus advances, the cornea bulges further, exacerbating vision problems. The cornea may experience sudden warping, swelling, and irregular shaping, with the development of cracks and scar tissues. These changes in the cornea contribute to worsening eyesight.

Diagnosis and Testing Early diagnosis of keratoconus is vital for effective management. Regular eye check-ups are essential. Collagen cross-linking is a recommended procedure to slow the progression of the disease. However, finding an experienced eye doctor is crucial, as keratoconus is not a common condition, and not all practitioners may have expertise in its treatment.

Diagnostic Tests 

Patients suspected of having keratoconus may undergo several diagnostic tests, including:

  • Slit Lamp Test: This test provides a magnified view of the cornea and other eye structures.
  • Corneal Pachymetry: It measures corneal thickness using computerized equipment. Thinning of the cornea is a characteristic of keratoconus.
  • Corneal Topography: This test assesses the shape of the cornea.
  • Retinal Examination: It checks for any retinal damage resulting from keratoconus.

Management and Prevention 

Treatment options vary depending on the stage of keratoconus:

  • In the early stages, contact lenses or eyeglasses may be prescribed.
  • Collagen cross-linking is recommended before the age of 25 to slow down progression.
  • Rigid gas permeable contact lenses are used when the cornea becomes severely curved.
  • In cases of corneal bulging, corneal rings (Kera rings) may be implanted in conjunction with cross-linking to reduce the bulge.
  • In extreme cases, corneal transplantation may be necessary.

Early detection, regular monitoring, and appropriate management are essential for effectively dealing with keratoconus and preserving vision.

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