What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye disease where the cornea of the eye will gradually thin and bulge, shifting into the shape of a cone. It is sometimes referred to as irregular astigmatism. People with keratoconus suffer from poor vision. At Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses, we can diagnose and treat keratoconus.
Who is at Risk?
The disease typically starts in the teenage years or early twenties. Over the next 10 to 20 years, patients diagnosed with keratoconus can expect the disease to get worse. The rate of progression of the disease is not the same in everyone.
There are no known causes of keratoconus, nor is it known why certain people get the disease. Family history, Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, congenital disorders and vigorous eye rubbing are some of the risk factors. If one of your parents had keratoconus, eyes should be checked every year starting at age 10 for the disease.
Inflammation from allergies or asthma can break down the tissue of the cornea and is also a risk. Environmental factors can include excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sign, continuous poorly fitted contact lenses and chronic eye irritation.
What are the Symptoms?
Those that suffer from keratoconus have blurry vision, possibly cloudy vision and may have a sensitivity to light and glare. This may cause difficulty with driving at night. Progressive nearsightedness may also develop.
Symptoms can change as the disease progresses and changes can be sudden or gradual. It can affect one or both eyes. It is important that you don’t rub your eyes. If this is something you’re finding yourself doing, make sure you talk to us.
How We Treat Keratoconus
Optometrists at Eyes of New Mexico are specialists in treating keratoconus. Our optometrists will look for signs of keratoconus during your routine eye health exam. To diagnose it, we will measure the shape of your cornea. In the early stages it may look like any other refractive error like that of blurred vision. It is easier to detect as the disease worsens.
Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses in Albuquerque has the latest technology to detect and diagnose this disease sooner. With such a progressive disease, this provides a tremendous advantage to our patients that is not available at all clinics.
Glasses, Custom Scleral Contact Lenses or Custom Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses
Initially, glasses may be prescribed for the treatment of keratoconus. Glasses and the prescription may change often. As the disease advances, your prescription may change to custom scleral contact lenses or custom rigid gas permeable lenses. We will custom-fit you for scleral contact lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses if appropriate for your specific situation.
The only effective treatment that can halt the progression of keratoconus is corneal cross-linking. It is a relatively new procedure and will be performed in the office by our qualified eye doctors. We will use special eye drop medication and ultraviolet light from a special machine to create stronger, more stable corneal tissues. Talk to the doctors at Eyes of NM Family Optometry and Contact Lenses to find out if you’re a good candidate for a corneal collagen cross-linking procedure.
Surgery or Cornea Transplant
Eventually, patients with keratoconus may need surgery or even a cornea transplant. We will be able to guide you through this process and refer you if surgery is needed.
As keratoconus is a progressive disease, monitoring and maintaining your eye health is extremely important. Changes to vision can occur frequently and rapidly and it is important to have a keratoconus specialist near you that you see regularly.
Specialists for Keratoconus
We can diagnose your condition and find the right treatment option for your comfort level and the stage of your progression. Our New Mexico eye doctors are able to help you at any stage of your diagnosis of Keratoconus. If you’ve suffered from an extreme change of vision, have a family history of keratoconus or feel you may be at risk, book an appointment with us in our Albuquerque clinic today.