While keratoconus can happen at any stage of life, young people between the ages of 10 and 25 are most likely to develop this disorder. For individuals with keratoconus, their cornea, the clear layer in the front of your eye, gradually thins and begins to bulge outward. Keratoconus typically causes nearsightedness and astigmatism in both eyes.
The first signs of keratoconus are rapid changes in vision that require frequent adjusting of prescription lenses. Other symptoms include increased sensitivity to light, eyes strain and irritation, halos around lights at night, headaches and an incessant urge to rub your eyes. Eventually, the corneas become noticeably cone shaped.
Keratoconus is the most common type of corneal dystrophy, or degenerative corneal disorder. It affects one in every 2,000 Americans, according to the National Eye Institute.
Many symptoms of keratoconus are similar to those of other corneal disorders, especially during the onset of the condition. This makes keratoconus difficult to diagnose.
Nonetheless, to diagnose keratoconus, ophthalmologists use a slit lamp to inspect your cornea at the microscopic level. Telltale signs of keratoconus include corneal thinning, an iron-colored ring around the cone-shaped cornea, stress lines and scarring at the top of the cone. Your eye doctor will also use instruments and lights to measure the curvature of your cornea
Causes & Risk Factors
Researchers are not exactly sure why some people develop keratoconus. Leading theories center on genetics, environment and hormones. Some scientists have noted a slightly higher chance of developing keratoconus if a family. member has it, but this correlation has not been proven with absolute certainty. Possible environmental causes include allergies that lead to excessive eye rubbing or poorly fitted contact lenses. Some researchers hypothesize that keratoconus is related to the endocrine system (the collection of glands that secrete certain hormones), because the onset often happens at puberty and worsens during pregnancy.
Providing the first & leading genetic eye test
- Provide you with a new level of targeted and personalized eyecare
- Review an objective polygenic keratoconus risk score – data based on multiple gene clusters that have a high correlation with keratoconus – to inform early and accurate management decisions
- Detect definitive diagnosis of specific corneal dystrophies based on monogenic data
- Provide genetic counseling gives you information about how genetic conditions might affect you or your family and may be used to determine how likely it is that you or your family member has a genetic condition.
Our Treatment Options & Tech
CUSTOM SCLERAL LENSESNo 2 fingerprints are alike, and someone's eyes, particularly the cornea, aren't any different. Like such a fingerprint, a cornea does have its unique form and texture. As a result, it's just natural for a contact lens to represent the cornea. Wave is specially made using the corneal "fingerprint." Wave uses a unique video camera with tools to create a visual map of the cornea that contains millions of numbers. The doctor uses the chart details, including Wave's special modeling tools, to make a personalized lens follow almost any small outline on your eye cornea. For patients needing adjustment of close or distant vision, mixed reading, and distant vision, astigmatism, keratoconus, or post-surgical adjustments, the physicians are trained and certified to use Wave custom scleral lens technology.
CROSSLINKINGIf keratoconus progresses until the cornea is too thin or scarred to tolerate contacts, your ophthalmologist may recommend a corneal transplant. According to the National Eye Institute, this operation is successful in more than 90 percent of those suffering from advanced keratoconus.
Intacs are very small clear plastic arcs, approved by the FDA, that are inserted into the substance of the cornea to treat keratoconus and other vision impairments. Intacs are a better alternative to corneal transplant, which used to be the standard treatment for keratoconus.
When inserted in the eye, Intacs reshape the cornea by flattening it closer to its original spherical shape.
Though the procedure usually improves uncorrected vision, the patient will often still need glasses or contact lenses.
Thanks to Intacs, patients who were once unable to wear contact lenses can now return to contact lens wear and even see better than they did prior to Intacs. Or go straight to glasses in some cases!
A study on the effectiveness of Intacs treatment for keratoconus and post-LASIK corneal ectasia showed that the patients eyes improved uncorrected visual acuity to the extent that the participants in the study could see nine lines better on a standard eye chart.
Are You A Candidate For Intacs?As The Dry Eye & Speciality center has multiple treatment options, with the newest & industry leading tech and equipment, our specialists will asses the stages of your keratoconus and suggest the best route, weather thats with Intacs or one of our other treatment options as needed.
What To Know About Intacs:
- Prior to surgery: Before Intacs are placed into your eyes, our specialists will perform a comprehensive eye exam and collect measurements and shape of your corneas. They will then discuss the treatment, procedure, and recovery information with you in depth.
- During the Intacs surgical procedure: During the procedure, a topical anesthesia is used to numb your eyes. The procedure only lasts about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. A small incision, usually with made with a laser, is made in the surface of the cornea where the Intacs will be placed. Patients will feel a slight pressure and small tugging sensation as the Intac is placed.
- Post Surgery: Someone will need to drive you home from the office after the procedure is completed as your vision will be blurred. Our specialists will go over the post treatment procedures with you and schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor your progression. You may continue to feel foreign body sensations a few days after the surgery, this is normal and will go away after a few days.