Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted vision. Keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes and often begins during a person's teens or early 20s.
Often the cause of keratoconus is unknown. Some studies have found that keratoconus runs in families, and that it happens more often in people with certain medical problems, including certain allergic conditions. Some think that chronic eye rubbing can cause keratoconus. But most often, there is no eye injury or disease that could explain why the eye starts to change.
- Frequent changing of glasses or contact lens prescriptions.
- Blurring and distortion of vision.
- Light sensitivity and irritation.
- Scarring of the cornea.
The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have keratoconus. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor for a complete exam.
Although there are no medicines known which will prevent progression of the disease, mild cases of keratoconus can be successfully treated with glasses or specially designed contact lenses. When vision is no longer satisfactory with glasses or contact lenses, a corneal transplant may be recommended. In addition, intracorneal rings have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of keratoconus. These crescent-shaped plastic rings are surgically placed on the outer edge of the cornea.