Corneal Dystrophies - Keratoconus
Corneal dystrophies are a group of eye disorders that can affect your vision, up to extreme impairment. These groups of the disease are often considered progressive, so they should be treated as quickly as possible to slow or stop the progression of any issues. Corneal dystrophies can impact a single, or both eyes, and may be linked to genetic factors.
One specific type of corneal dystrophy is keratoconus. The cornea of your eye helps to accept and focus light and images that enter the eye. Keratoconus causes the cornea to become thinner, and the internal pressure of your eye makes the cornea bulge into a more cone-like shape. As the cornea becomes misshapen, the light that passes through cannot be properly focused, and images will appear blurry and distorted. Keratoconus can have effects on your ability to read and drive.
Causes of Keratoconus
While many of the disorders that are grouped under corneal dystrophy have strong genetic ties, keratoconus has a wide variety of potential causes. There is still a genetic factor; 1 in 10 patients with keratoconus also have a parent who exhibits the disorder. The issue has also been connected to patients with eye allergies, eye irritation, and eye rubbing.
Individuals with keratoconus will typically begin to exhibit signs and symptoms of the disorder in their late teens or early twenties. Changes in their vision may continue for the next 10 to 20 years.
While a true diagnosis should come from your eye doctor, there are some signs and symptoms that you can recognize, so you know when it’s time to seek professional help. Keratoconus can affect one eye but is generally seen in both eyes. This doesn’t mean that the progression is the same in both eyes, though, and it is very common to have drastically different effects on each eye.
Keratoconus is typically broken into an early and late stage progression. During an early stage progression, patients may not notice any changes to their vision or only a slight blurring. There may also be some slight distortion of images, where straight lines look bent or distorted. Keratoconus in the early stage can also cause some light sensitivities or redness and swelling. Many patients can believe that these issues are natural or just a part of aging and don’t seek medical care. However, early detection can help to slow or stop the progression of the disease and reduce negative effects
In the late stage of keratoconus, vision becomes increasingly blurry, and images can be drastically distorted. Eye prescriptions can change rapidly and drastically in both near and farsightedness. Patients will often have a difficult time being able to read or drive. The changes in the shape of the eye can be so severe that patients who wear contact lenses may find that they no longer fit or stay on the eye.
Keratoconus typically takes a few or several years to progress from the early to late stages, so it is often detected at your annual eye exam. However, some patients may find that the disease begins and progresses rapidly, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you think it may help you.
Fortunately, there are several options for the treatment of keratoconus, so work with your eye doctor to see which options are best for you. Some of the most common treatments include:
Intacs – these are surgically implanted devices that go into the cornea to help flatten and maintain the proper shape of your cornea.
Collagen Cross-Linking – This treatment uses special eye drops that help to strengthen the cornea. A stronger cornea can help to flatten and maintain the proper shape and reduce future bulging.
Corneal Transplants – Over time, the issues associated with keratoconus can cause scarring of the cornea, which reduces the ability of light to pass through the cornea. For many of these patients, or in patients where the cornea is too damaged, a corneal transplant is the best option. This is a surgical procedure where the old cornea is removed, and a new cornea is put in place. The new tissue is strong and disease-free and can restore a patient’s vision.
Why choose Dr. Michael Ahdoot for Treatment of Your Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a potentially serious form of corneal dystrophy. If you notice a sudden change in your vision or become light sensitive, it may be an early sign of the disorder. Call our office in Sunnyside, Queens, NY today to schedule an appointment and protect your vision today. Supported by a state-of-the-art office, Dr. Michael Ahdoot and the Staff of Progressive Ophthalmology provide comprehensive, quality service and superior results.