blue eyeball close up photo

When the clear front of your eye starts pushing outward into the shape of a cone, this is called Keratoconus. What is happening is that your cornea is beginning to deform.  This can cause blurry vision and over sensitivity to harsh light among other problems such as astigmatism and near sightedness. Fortunately, Keratoconus is rare, but for those affected it is a serious condition that affects the quality of life.

Keratoconus is a progressive condition that will typically begin early in life, starting mostly in the teenage years. 

In its early stages the condition can be rectified with corrective lenses, either glasses or soft contacts.  As it progressive different measures can be taken, such as being fitted with hard contacts that are gas permeable. 

Since the eye’s surface is deformed, contacts may be an uncomfortable solution but ophthalmologists can use a method whereby two contact lenses can be stacked together on the same eye.  This method helps to reduce the discomfort while helping to improve eyesight.

Other methods include using contact lenses that are larger than average, covering the white area of the eye.  These are called Scleral contact lenses, as the white part of the eye is the sclera. Such contacts reduce pressure, and therefore discomfort, on the coned area, this is often referred to as “vaulting”.  

Another type of scleral contact is sometime used for people with advanced Keratoconus. The prosthetic lens is a relatively new advancement in sight technology and can be applied when regular prescriptions no longer work.  With this method, the contour of the eye is measured exactly via an imprint of the eye’s contour.  The contour is then scanned and turned into a 3D model.  The result is a truly customized lens engineered specifically for the eye.  An expensive proposition, but one that many have found successful.

For advanced stages of the condition, a corneal transplant may be required.  As the name suggests, this method involves operating directly on the eye to remove the defective cornea and replace it with a healthy one.  The procedure itself is enough to make a brave person squeamish as the risk of losing one’s sight is very real.  Fortunately, though, the corneal transplant is a common procedure with a high success rate.  

We have covered but a few of many different options for treating Keratoconus. If you suspect that you have Keratoconus, the first step is to get an appointment with an optometrist.  They’ll be able to determine the overall health of your eyes and to properly advise you should the condition be found to affect your sight.