Keratoconus | The Anatomy of Your Eye
The cornea is the clear tissue in front of the pupil and iris. It is living tissue but has no blood vessels.
You see through the cornea, just as you would look through a window. Behind the pupil is the lens, which along with the cornea, focuses the light entering the eye. The retina in the back of the eye is composed of specialized nerve cells that transmit the light impulses coming through the front of the eye to the optic nerve and then to the brain. In a healthy, normal eye, light passes through the cornea and lens and is focused on the retina. Sharp vision requires all structures of the eye to be in good working order. Like a foggy window, loss of transparency of the cornea will contribute to reducing vision.
Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop. This can result in significant visual impairment due to the scattering of light before it hits the retina. It is estimated to occur in 1 out of every 2,000 people and is generally first diagnosed in young people at puberty or in their late teens. In its earliest stages, keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to light. Keratoconus typically progresses for 10-20 years before it stabilizes. There is no known cure for the condition.
Over the past few years, treatments have been developed to help stabilize it in its early stages so that no further surgical treatments will typically be necessary. Prior to this treatment availability, patients needed to wear rigid contact lenses up until a time if/when there is significant corneal scarring or enough distortion of the vision that a cornea transplant was the only option. Contact lenses are still commonly used to help improve the vision and there have been significant improvements in the designs and materials of these lenses as well. We will work with your referring doctor to achieve the best treatment option(s) for your eyes.