Keratoconus FAQs Answered by a Richardson, TX Optometrist
According to the National Organization for Rare Disorder (NORD), one out of every 2,000 individuals has keratoconus. Other studies show it affects one out of every 400. Men tend to experience this disorder more than women. At Richardson Eye Associates, serving Richardson, TX and the surrounding area, we can diagnose, treat, and provide you with education about keratoconus. We stress the importance of children receiving an examination since it develops around puberty or during the late teenage years most commonly.
Definition of Keratoconus
Keratoconus is an eye condition caused by your cornea, which is the clear layer on the outside of your eye, thinning and changing shape. As the cornea thins, it becomes unable to support the contents and begins to bulge. Because of this change, you may notice objects appear distorted or blurry. Some people have a sensitivity to light. You develop nearsightedness and could also have irregular astigmatism. If you have keratoconus, you might have difficulty seeing at night.
What Causes Keratoconus?
It's unknown what causes keratoconus. Certain factors seem to play a role, such as genetics. In fact, about 10 percent of people with keratoconus have a parent with it, as noted by the Mayo Clinic. Environmental factors and certain health conditions increase your risk as well. Even rubbing your eyes excessively and wearing improperly fitting contacts may be contributing factors.
Is Keratoconus Dangerous?
Most people don't experience any serious problems. Typically, the only issue is frequent changes in their correct eyewear prescription. However, it's possible for your cornea to swell rapidly because of it breaking down. The fluid inside of your eye then enters your cornea. The swelling can scar your cornea and lead to a decrease in your vision. If you have corneal scarring, your vision problems could worsen. You could then require a corneal transplant.
How Does an Optometrist Diagnose Keratoconus?
Our optometrist will evaluate your family and medical history. You receive an eye examination, too. You may receive a slit-lamp examination to view your eye and evaluate the shape of your cornea. Either a test using light or a computer may determine the shape of your cornea.
How Does an Optometrist Treat Keratoconus?
In the earlier stages, standard glasses or contacts are usually enough to correct the vision deficit. However, as it progresses, you may require hard contracts that correct the shape of the eye and optimize vision better than regular contracts. Hybrid or scleral lenses may correct vision better for many. Another option is to wear one contact on top of the other in a single eye. It's more comfortable than rigid lenses for some.