Eye Diseases
Keratoconus (KC)
Overview:
  • It is disorder of the eye which results in progressive thinning of the cornea.
  • Over rubbing the eyes can damage thin your cornea.
  • The disease can, however, present or progress at any age.
  • The main symptom is accelerated myopia (short sightedness), which may develop into blindness.
  • There is no definitive treatment, yet some tactics will help to slow the progression of the disease
  • It cannot be prevented, but it can be handled.

Cornea:
It is the transparent front part of the eye and account greatly for the eyes optical power.

Keratoconus (KC):
It occurs when the cornea thins out and bulges like a cone. Changing the shape of the cornea brings light rays out of focus, causing blurry vision and myopia (short sightedness).

Causes:
Doctors do not know for sure why people have keratoconus, but it can be due to:
  • Genetics. 
  • Over rubbing of the eyes as a result of allergy.

Symptoms:
  • Blurred vision, with frequent changes of eyeglasses in early stages.
  • Increased sensitivity to light and glare.

Diagnosis:
The ophthalmologist or optometrist will examine the Keratoconus regularly to monitor its progression over time, including:

Retinoscopy to measure the refractive error of a patient's eyes.

Measure the localized curvature of the cornea.

Through corneal topography to analyze damaged spots.

Measure the thickness of the cornea.

Risk Factors:


Keratoconus usually develops in one's 20s and can worsen over time. It is normally bilateral, yet unilateral cases tend to be worse. It is a progressive condition which usually stabilizes by the fourth decade of life.

Higher Susceptibility Groups:
  • Persons with some eye diseases (including: Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis and retinitis pigmentosa)
  • Persons with some genetic diseases (including: Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta, marfan syndrome, and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome).
Not all KC patients have these symptoms, and the vice versa. 

Complications:
In advanced keratoconus, your cornea may become scarred, particularly where the cone forms, thus worsening one's vision.
Corneal hydrops is a rare complication of keratoconus, when fluid from inside the eye enters cornea, which leads to further vision issues.

Treatment:
Keratoconus cannot be treated with eye drops or other medications, but some means can help slow or even stop disease progression:
1- In the early stages, glasses or soft contact lenses may help correct vision. 
2- In acute vision cases, rigid lenses high oxygen permeability is used.
3- In acute keratoconus, doctors resort to corneal transplant.

Prevention:
Generally, keratoconus cannot be prevented. Early intervention can slow symptoms progression, through:
  • Regular and periodical eye tests for all family members above 10 years, mainly for families with keratoconus history and risk factors.
  • Avoiding rubbing your eyes due to allergies.
  • Following doctor's instructions and immediately reporting any noticeable progression.
  • Avoiding unprescribed medications, even if recommended by a keratoconus patient.
  • Keeping your eyes clean, without rubbing them.
  • Warding off any eye irritation.
  • Protecting your eyes while swimming and in sports.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs):
1. Is it common to wear different lenses in each eye?
The doctors measure each eye independently, then prescribe the lenses accordingly. You better discuss this issue with your doctor.

2. Can keratoconus affect a person's balance?
Balance depends upon input from the inner ear, neurological and the visual system. In keratoconus, different lenses can affect your balance, so consult your doctor to fix the issue. As balance problems can have other causes, discuss this with you doctor mainly if it worsens.

3. If keratoconus is bilateral, how do you explain unilateral cases?
The other may have developed an acute keratoconus, yet virtually undetectable. It may show symptoms or remain that way.

Myths:
  • Glaucoma causes keratoconus.
This is not necessarily the case.
  • Keratoconus patients naturally have bloodshot eyes.
Bloodshot eyes signals lens measure or dry eye problems. You better consult a specialist, keep the lenses clean, and moisten your eyes with artificial tear eye drops.


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Last Update 09 June 2019 11:41 AM
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