What is keratoconus disease?
The outermost layer of the eye-cornea- starts to bulge outward , thus causing keratoconus disease. The normally round cornea has a dome-like structure facing outward. Cornea of the patient with this disease becomes thin and has the shape of a cone. This part of the eye plays a key role refracting and bending the light entering the eye, transferring it to the inner parts. This smooth and clear part of the eye has its shape that allow it to refract the light best. That is why keratoconus disrupts focusing the entry of light into the eye. Therefore the patient complains about impaired visions.
What causes keratoconus?
What causes this disease is still debatable; however it is known to be a hereditary condition. Rubbing and scratching over the eye are believed to cause it, though so far there has been no evidence proving such.
What are the symptoms of keratokonus?
It is a progressive, gradual disease, affecting vision of the patient. While causing myopia and astigmatism, it could end with vision loss in later stages. It can be controlled using simpler methods if diagnosed early. It is critical to detect symptoms earlier for keratoconus progresses fast during younger years of the patient. Burning sensation, eye irritation, redness are a few of its many symptoms. These are very common with many other eye diseases so in order not to mix it with something else, further symptoms include sensitivity to the light, seeing several images when looking at one object, blurring of vision, glare, ghost images. Visit your eye doctor when you have these symptoms so that treatment should as soon as possible after diagnosis .
The treatment of keratokonus
Keratokonus is a progressive disease and the symptoms of it become more prominent day by day. There are three main treatments for this diseases depending on the patient’s condition and how much has it progressed.
- Corneal Crosslinking: a treatment to halt the progression of the disease. It tends to progress fast at a younger age. First step of crosslinking is to use vitamin B2 –riboflavin- as eye drops,later an ultraviolet -uv- light source is used to strenghten the collagen fibers of the cornea. Adding speacial bonds between the collagen fibers in your eye is why it is called crosslinking. Crosslinking can be recommended as a complement to other treatments.
- Intra-corneal rings: after creating a tunnel between layers of the cornea with laser to insert the ring , your surgeon will place INTACS in the peripheral cornea. The whole procedure takes 5 to 7 minutes max. Other people can’t see them and the patient won’t feel them as they are beneath the cornea’s nerve endings.
- Corneal transplantations: Being one of the most frequently performed surgeries with a very a high success rate, corneal transplantation is the procedure of replacing your cornea with a healthy one.