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Keratoconus is characterized by an irregular protrusion of the cornea, which is the clear surface over the iris (the colored part of the eye). In keratoconus, the cornea will appear "cone shaped" rather than having the normal spherical curve.

What Are Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Keratoconus can be difficult to detect because it can develop slowly. However, in some cases, the onset may proceed rapidly.

Keratoconus sufferers may have:

  • Distorted or blurred vision
  • Glare and light sensitivity
  • Frequent prescription changes to improve eyesight

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round, dome-shaped cornea becomes increasingly thin, causing a cone-like bulge to develop. The changing condition of the cornea results in significant visual impairment. The cornea is extremely important in producing clear vision and is responsible for refracting 2/3 of the light coming into the eye. Abnormalities of the cornea severely affect the way you see the world around you and can make simple tasks, like driving, reading, or watching television difficult.

How Is Keratoconus Treated?

A mild form of keratoconus can be treated with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. However, as the disease progresses and the cornea becomes thinner and more irregular in shape, glasses and soft contacts will not provide adequate vision correction.

Moderate and Advanced keratoconus treatments include:

  • Gas permeable contact lenses. Gas permeable lenses are made of a rigid material that enables the contact lens to flatten the surface of the cornea. The lens replaces the cornea's irregular shape with a smooth and uniform refracting surface to improve vision.
  • Hybrid contact lenses: Hybrid contact lenses have a new design combining a oxygen-permeable rigid center with a soft edges to provide greater comfort.
  • Intacs: Intacs are tiny, plastic inserts placed just under the eye's surface in the periphery of the cornea. The corneal inserts help to re-shape the cornea to produce clearer vision.
  • Corneal transplant: When the disease reaches the point where contact lenses and other therapies no longer provide acceptable vision, a cornea transplant, called a keratoplasty, can be performed. After the transplant is performed, glasses or contact lenses will still be required for clear vision.
  • FDA studies are now underway to examine the efficacy of Riboflavin therapy with UV exposure in stabilizing the corneal surface in Keratoconus.

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