The clear dome at the front of your eye – the cornea – is the first refractive part of the eye, essential for bringing your vision into focus. The cornea is susceptible to damage and disease, including a bulging condition called keratoconus. The eye care professionals at the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care, serving East Brunswick, Toms River, and Morristown, New Jersey, can help you with treatment options to manage your condition, including surgical solutions. Call or click today to schedule a consultation.
A disease of the cornea for which there’s no known cause, keratoconus describes the cone shape that the cornea takes on after thinning. Typically affecting both eyes, keratoconus is also a condition that often hits early in life, rather than later, usually starting between the ages of 10 and 25, and slowly progressing for 10 years or more.
During the time keratoconus progresses, your vision can usually be corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses. This may change to rigid contacts in later stages of the disease or heavier prescription glasses until becoming too advanced for corrective lenses.
As your cornea changes shape, you’ll notice distortions or blur in your vision. You’ll be more sensitive to bright lights and glare, particularly at night. Your eyeglass prescription may change often, and you could experience cloudy vision or an overall rapid deterioration in your eyesight.
While the cause of keratoconus isn’t known, there are several factors that may put you at increased risk. The condition runs in families, so there’s a genetic connection. Aggressive eye rubbing may aggravate the condition, and it’s commonly connected with certain other medical conditions including:
Some complications that occasionally arise due to keratoconus include scarring of the cornea in the part where the cone forms. These scars create more vision issues that may no longer respond to corrective eyewear, making surgery the only alternative.
Keratoconus can stabilize, and corrective lenses may be all you need to cope with the condition. However, if the cone shape makes wearing contacts difficult, or corneal scarring becomes extensive, surgical solutions are likely your only alternatives to permanent vision impairment or blindness.
Corneal transplant surgery is common for treating keratoconus. The doctors of the Witlin Center for Advanced Eye Care also offer other techniques.
Intacs® corneal implants are medical grade plastic devices that locate around the central cornea and help to reshape the tissue away from the cone shape of keratoconus and back toward a more natural dome. This technique works well when there’s little to no scarring.
Corneal cross-linking strengthens tissue weakened by keratoconus by applying vitamin B2 and stimulating it with controlled amounts of ultraviolet light. This helps the collagen present in the cornea to strengthen and anchor the cornea in place effectively.