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the eye institute of west florida

Keratoconus

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease where the typically round cornea (the front clear window of the eye) becomes thin, beginning to bulge and steepen, creating more of an irregular cone shape. The change in shape disables light from entering the eye properly. The cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye, causing distorted vision. As the shape of the cornea becomes more irregular due to the keratoconus, your vision will continue to worsen, resulting in frequent changes in your prescription. Typically, keratoconus begins during teenage years and early 20s and these patients often require a new prescription for their contacts and glasses at each yearly eye exam. Keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes but typically appears in both. It often makes daily activities such as driving, watching television or reading extremely difficult.

Mild to moderate keratoconus can be treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Until recently, eyeglasses or contact lenses corrected vision until the point of a patient possibly requiring surgery. If a patient’s mild to moderate keratoconus progressively worsened, a corneal transplant would possibly be the only treatment option. Luckily, the FDA recently approved corneal collagen cross-linking, a much less invasive procedure that corrects keratoconus and can even eliminate the need for a corneal transplant later in life.

Keratoconus symptoms typically include:

  • Distorted vision
  • Blurring of vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Glare
  • Mild to moderate irritation

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