Keratoconus- What is it?

Our Doctors are trained to treat Keratoconus.

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease where the normal cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This cone causes irregular astigmatism and near-sightedness leading to distorted vision, glare, and light sensitivity. Severe forms of the disease can lead to partial rupture of Descemet’s layer of the cornea causing swelling and pain. 

 

There is usually a genetic predisposition for keratoconus so multiple family members may have this condition. Systemic associations include Down syndrome, atopic disease (dermatitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis), and mitral valve prolapse. It is also associated with chronic eye rubbing. 

 

Conservative management of keratoconus is typically prescription contact lenses. Mild cases may be able to wear soft contact lenses but most moderate to severe keratoconic patients need some sort of hard contact lens. 

o Gas Permeable Lenses – hard contact lens that floats on the cornea to provide more crisp vision 

o “Piggy Back” Lenses – hard lens that fits on top of a soft contact lens used to provide more comfort 

o Hybrid Lenses – hard contact lens surrounded by a soft skirt giving comfort and clarity 

o Scleral/Semi-scleral Lenses – large diameter hard contact lens that covers the cornea and part of the white part of the eye called the sclera 

 

Progression of keratoconus may need to be surgically treated. An exciting new FDA-approved technology is corneal cross-linking. Riboflavin (a type of B vitamin) is applied to the eye and treated with UV light. This technique strengthens the cornea and slows/stops progression. This is a promising new treatment for those suffering with keratoconus. Other surgical options include Intacs and corneal transplant. Intacs, curved implants inserted into the peripheral cornea to help reshape the cornea, may delay progression but will not stop it. Corneal transplant, also known as penetrating keratoplasty, is a replacement cornea with organ donor tissues.

Dr Treece is trained in treating Keratoconus.  Schedule an appointment today and get relief!