Keratoconus (KC) is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea. As this progresses, normal eye pressure causes the round shape of the cornea to distort and a cone-like bulge develops, resulting in significant visual impairment.
Symptoms blurring and shortsightedness, light sensitivity, halos and ghosting around light sources that can make night driving difficult.
Treatments spectacles in the early stages. Then contact lenses, usually rigid. Corneal crosslinking may slow or halt progression; corneal transplants used in a small number of severe cases.
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Avoid eye rubbing Vigorous rubbing of itchy eyes can trigger keratoconus and cause progression in an existing condition. Ophthalmologists say keratoconus may slow or even halt once you stop eye rubbing. Treat itchy eyes with eye drops, not eye rubbing.
Rinse with saline solution Tap water contains all sorts of nasty bacteria that cause serious eye infections. Don't take the risk: use saline solution to rinse your lenses after cleaning them in the evening and to rinse out your contact lens case every morning before drying with a tissue
6-12 monthly reviews Keratoconus is a progressive disease and can advance quickly in adolescents and young adults. Schedule a review with your eye-carer (generally optometrist/contact lens fitter) every 6-12 months. Incorrectly-fitted contact lenses can cause irritation and scarring. Crosslinking may be required to halt further progression.
Emergency spectacles Everyone should have a pair of emergency spectacles if you wear contact lenses. They don't provide perfect vision. But they do enable you to do things around the house, make bathroom trips in the night and avoid wearing lenses in the dry atmosphere of a plane on long trips.
Second Opinions It is always worth obtaining a 2nd opinion before having life changing surgery like a corneal transplant, or even crosslinking. Don't be afraid to ask your eye-carer for a referral. It is common and good medical practice.