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Keratoconus Diagnosis and Treatment

You know that clear structure sitting on top of your colored iris? That's the cornea. Normally, it's shaped like a half dome. It helps bend and refract light as it enters your eye, which is necessary for clear vision. In a person with keratoconus, the cornea becomes unusually thin and irregularly shaped, like a cone. This disrupts the way light enters your eye.

Woman getting tested for Keratoconus.

What Are the Causes of Keratoconus? 

There are a few theories about why keratoconus happens, which can affect people of any age (though symptoms often come on in the late teens and early 20's). 

One theory is suggests the disease happens as a result of progressive damage to the corneal tissue (caused by a cellular metabolism by-product called free radicals). It could also be related to the presence of certain other health conditions, including certain types of allergies, birth defects, and genetic disorders (including Down syndrome). It's also been postulated that keratoconus is more likely to occur in people with a long history of contact lens use, or in people who rub their eyes too forcefully and frequently. 

What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus? 

The key signs and symptoms of keratoconus include: 

  • Double vision
  • Poor nighttime vision
  • Worsening nearsightedness (close-up vision remains adequate, while distant vision becomes more blurry)
  • Impaired visual focusing and acuity (the person may squint to compensate)

Typically, one eye is affected first. In uncommon cases, a person may also experience corneal hydrops (aka corneal rupture) and swelling. 

In the most advanced cases, keratoconus can result in severely low vision and legal blindness. 

How Can My Orlando Optometrist Help Me Manage My Keratoconus?

If you notice any unusual signs or symptoms with your eyesight, contact an Orlando optometrist right away. Earlier detection and treatment often improves outcomes for you or your loved one with keratoconus!

After making a diagnosis on a thorough eye and vision exam, our team can devise an appropriate plan which will help you live better and see more clearly with the disease. For example, Dr. Ben Konynenbelt is certified in specialty contact lens fittings, including scleral lenses. Scleral lenses are one of the main non-surgical treatments of keratoconus. These large contacts fit over the whites of your eye and form a tear-barrier between the lens and your irregularly shaped cornea, which can help correct the way light enters the eye. 

Additional treatments for keratoconus provided at our facility include:

  • Other types of corrective eyewear, as appropriate 
  • Low vision therapy and training 
  • Medicated eye drops (to relieve pain and discomfort associated with eye swelling and hydrops)
  • Pre and post-operative care of surgical treatments (including the implantation of intrastromal corneal rings, or intacs, which can correct vision)

Keratoconus isn't curable. So, regular check-ups with an eye doctor is essential so your disease can be properly managed and monitored. 

Our Orlando Optometrists Can Provide Effective Treatment For your Keratoconus, So Why Wait to Schedule Your Appointment?

Do you or a loved one struggle with keratoconus? Contact Southwest Orlando Eyecare today to schedule an eye exam with one of our Orlando optometrists, Dr. Konynenbelt or Dr. Nowell. Contact us now at 407-271-8931. 

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