Also known as Conical Cornea
Since Google searching keratoconus isn’t something that you would routinely do in your spare time, there is about a 100% chance that you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with keratoconus and you are looking for answers and treatments for this frustrating condition. We are here to help.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, keratoconus will not cause debilitating vision loss but can be a serious pain in the butt. Keratoconus is a lot like male pattern baldness. Some guys lose a lot of hair, some just a little. Keratoconus is very similar in that those with the condition have a widely varying severity of vision loss and reach a stable point which could be a mild loss of vision or severe loss of vision. Also, similar to baldness, the goal in treating keratoconus is to use medical treatments to slow or stop the process and then use other methods to “cover up” the affected areas. Preventing and hiding hair loss requires medications to prevent further loss but wigs and weaves are needed to cover bald spots and sometimes a hair transplant is required. Keratoconus requires special contact lenses to hide an uneven cornea and sometimes (but hopefully rarely!) a corneal transplant is needed.
In your searches of “Dr. Google” for keratoconus, we can assume that you have seen many confusing articles and studies which are full of scientific mumbo jumbo. Since it is our job to interpret and communicate relevant information to our patients, we have taken the time to filter through the endless information in an attempt to offer more practical methods to understand keratoconus and available treatment options.
Keratoconus is essentially a skin problem and is often found in patients with other chronic skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis. The cornea is very similar to skin on other parts of your body except that it is transparent and has an amazingly accurate curvature to properly bend light and focus it on your retina. Any imperfections in the curvature of the cornea will cause blurred vision usually from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism and these imperfections can cause patients to need glasses, contact lenses, or surgical means to correct vision. However, in the case of keratoconus, the cornea takes on a very irregular shape with multiple unpredictable areas of varying vision which cannot be calculated into standard vision correction techniques.
The first symptom of keratoconus is usually blurred vision which occurs over the course of several months or even years. The blurred vision is almost always more pronounced in one eye more than the other eye.
The exact cause of keratoconus remains elusive. Contributing factors seem to include genetic and possible hormonal factors but environmental factors may also play a role in the development of keratoconus.
As with other ocular conditions, accurate diagnosis is the key to a proper treatment plan and best visual outcome. Keratoconus is often mistaken for other eye conditions or just poor vision which cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Goal: Improve Quality of Life – Unfortunately, there is no cure for keratoconus but treatment options are available and the need for treatment of keratoconus depends on the severity of the condition.
Insurance coverage for keratoconus can vary from plan to plan and can be somewhat confusing so hopefully this article will be helpful but feel free to call our office with questions.