Keratoconus is caused by a decrease in protective antioxidants in the cornea. If the
antioxidant levels are low, collagen weakens and the cornea protrudes. We see through the cornea which is the transparent outer layers of the eye. Normally, the cornea has a dome shape and is round like a ball. Sometimes, however, the structure of the cornea is not strong enough to hold this round shape and the cornea bulges outward. Small protein fibers in the eye called collagen helps to keep the cornea stable. When these fibers become weak, they can not maintain the shape and the cornea becomes increasingly more “cone” shaped.
Keratoconus changes the vision of two ways:
● The smooth surface over the eye becomes wavy as the cornea changes shape.
This is known as irregular astigmatism.
● Vision becomes more nearsighted as the front of the cornea is expanded and
anything far may be blurry.
Symptoms for keratoconus include the following:
● Sudden change of vision in one eye
● Double vision or “ghost images”
● Distorted vision, with objects both near and far
● Lights with halos or streaks
● Blurred vision while driving
Keratoconus usually begins in adolescence and seems to be genetic. The cornea can change shape relatively quickly or may progress over several years. These changes can lead to blurred vision and/or a constant glare. Changes can also stop quickly or continue for decades. There is no way to predict how the condition will progress. In most cases, both eyes are eventually affected, although not always to the same extent. Treatment can occasionally be done with glasses. Best vision for keratoconus patients will be through scleral contact lenses, also known as corneal vaulting devices. There are also specialized treatments that can be done to prevent the progression of the disease.
Vision correction laser surgery –LASIK – is dangerous for people with keratoconus, as it may further weaken the cornea and make the vision worse. Anyone with even a small degree of keratoconus should not have LASIK surgery. Contact Twenty Twenty Eyecare – your Tulsa Optometrist – to schedule your eye exam today!