Keratoconus

woman undergoing cornea curvature testing

While keratoconus can happen at any stage of life, young people between the ages of 10 and 25 are most likely to develop this disorder. For individuals with keratoconus, their cornea, the clear layer in the front of your eye, gradually thins and begins to bulge outward. Keratoconus typically causes nearsightedness and astigmatism in both eyes.

The first signs of keratoconus are rapid changes in vision that require frequent adjusting of prescription lenses. Other symptoms include increased sensitivity to light, eyes strain and irritation, halos around lights at night, headaches and an incessant urge to rub your eyes. Eventually, the corneas become noticeably cone shaped.

Keratoconus is the most common type of corneal dystrophy, or degenerative corneal disorder. It affects one in every 2,000 Americans, according to the National Eye Institute.

Diagnosis

Many symptoms of keratoconus are similar to those of other corneal disorders, especially during the onset of the condition. This makes keratoconus difficult to diagnose.

Nonetheless, to diagnose keratoconus, ophthalmologists use a slit lamp to inspect your cornea at the microscopic level. Telltale signs of keratoconus include corneal thinning, an iron-colored ring around the cone-shaped cornea, stress lines and scarring at the top of the cone. Your eye doctor will also use instruments and lights to measure the curvature of your cornea.

Causes and Risk Factors

Researchers are not exactly sure why some people develop keratoconus. Leading theories center on genetics, environment and hormones. Some scientists have noted a slightly higher chance of developing keratoconus if a family member has it, but this correlation has not been proven with absolute certainty. Possible environmental causes include allergies that lead to excessive eye rubbing or poorly fitted contact lenses. Some researchers hypothesize that keratoconus is related to the endocrine system (the collection of glands that secrete certain hormones), because the onset often happens at puberty and worsens during pregnancy.

Treatment

Usually, the cornea stabilizes, so vision can be corrected with glasses or contacts. But between 10 and 20 percent of people with keratoconus will have more severe problems that require an alternative form of treatment, such as the following

Corneal Crosslinking. Healthy corneas keep their shape because cross-linked collagen fibers serve as supports. Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) involves saturating the cornea with riboflavin drops and activating them with an ultraviolet light. This strengthens the cornea by increasing the amount of collagen cross-linking. While CXL doesn’t cure keratoconus, it can arrest the progress of the disorder.

Intacs Surgery. Your eye doctor may suggest inserting Intacs, extremely thin plastic semi-circles. These flatten the cornea, improving vision. You may or may not still need to wear prescription lenses after Intacs surgery.

Corneal transplant. If keratoconus progresses until the cornea is too thin or scarred to tolerate contacts, your ophthalmologist may recommend a corneal transplant. According to the National Eye Institute, this operation is successful in more than 90 percent of those suffering from advanced keratoconus.

If you are experiencing signs of keratoconus, call us so we can diagnose your vision condition and suggest an appropriate plan of action for your visual needs.

Exclusive Offer

Free Pair of Single Vision glasses with purchase of complete pair of glasses!

Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

Please Call

Tuesday:

Please Call

Wednesday:

Please Call

Thursday:

Please Call

Friday:

Please Call

Saturday:

Please Call

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "TSO Bishop Arts is the best at what they do and make you feel right at home."
    Brian N.
  • "Doctors and staff are courteous and very professional. I wholeheartedly recommend TSO Bishop Arts!"
    Rebecca M.

Featured Articles

Helpful and Informative Resources

  • Nystagmus

    Nystagmus is a vision condition characterized by repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements. These involuntary eye movements may be side-to-side, up and down, or in a circular pattern, which hinders the eyes’ ability to focus on a steady object. Individuals with nystagmus may hold their heads in unusual ...

    Read More
  • Macular Hole

    The condition known as a macular hole refers to a tiny break in the macula that results in blurry or distorted vision. To fully understand the condition, one must understand eye anatomy. The macula is a spot located in the center of the retina (the back portion of the eye). Located where light comes ...

    Read More
  • How It Helps

    The goal of vision therapy is to treat vision problems that cannot be fully addressed through eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. For example, studies show that vision therapy may be beneficial for addressing eyestrain and other issues that can affect a child’s reading abilities. The human brain ...

    Read More
  • How It Works

    Vision therapy, also referred to as vision training, neuro-vision therapy, or vision rehabilitation, is an optometry subspecialty. Vision therapy is prescribed to develop, improve and/or enhance visual function so an individual’s vision system functions more smoothly. Vision therapy can be beneficial ...

    Read More
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    One of the leading causes of vision loss in people who are age 50 or older is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This common eye condition leads to damage of a small spot near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula provides us with the ability to clearly see objects that are straight ...

    Read More
  • Signs and Symptoms Checklist

    Vision therapy, which is also known as vision training or visual training, is an individualized treatment program that can help identify and correct perceptual-cognitive deficiencies that are impacting visual learning, focus, and concentration. Vision Therapy for Children: Checklist While individuals ...

    Read More
  • Vitrectomy and Vitreoretinal Eye Surgery

    Vitreoretinal surgery refers to a group of surgeries which take place inside the eye's interior where the vitreous (gel-like material) and retina (photosensitive membrane) are located. Vitreoretinal procedures are either performed with traditional surgical tools or lasers, and address a range of ophthalmic ...

    Read More
  • Pediatric Ophthlamology

    Ophthalmology addresses the physiology, anatomy and diseases of the eyes. Pediatric ophthalmology focuses on the eyes of children. Pediatric ophthalmologists examine children’s eyes to see if they need corrective lenses or other treatments to improve their vision. Training for Pediatric Ophthalmologists Pediatric ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia

    Somewhere around the age of 40, most people’s eyes lose the ability to focus on close-up objects. This condition is called presbyopia. You may start holding reading material farther away, because it is blurry up close. Reading suddenly gives you eyestrain. You might wonder when manufacturers started ...

    Read More
  • Myopia

    Myopia, or nearsightedness, means that your eyes can see close objects clearly but struggle to see things in the distance. Nearly 30 percent of Americans are nearsighted. This condition usually develops in children and teenagers, up to about the age of 20. A teacher or parent might notice a child squinting ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign Up to Receive More Articles