Keratoconus is an Eye Condition that effects the surface of the Eye. This article will explain what it is in detail, how we detect it, and what can the treatment options are.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round dome-shaped clear window of the eye (cornea) progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop. This can eventually impair the ability of the eye to focus properly, potentially causing poor vision.
How is it detected?
What are the Treatment options?
In the early stages, spectacles or soft contact lenses may be used to correct vision. As the cornea becomes thinner and steeper, soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are often required to correct vision more adequately. In very advanced cases, where contact lenses fail to improve vision, a corneal transplant may be needed. This type of intervention is rare however since the introduction of corneal cross-linking (CXL). CXL is a relatively new treatment that can stop the disease getting worse. It is effective in over 94% of patients with a single 30 minute outpatient procedure.
Keratoconus does not require urgent referral since changes caused by the condition usually take several months or even years to develop. Because of this, we monitor those with the condition and invite them back for repeat assessments for up to five years from their initial visit.
Each time you attend this clinic, we will perform many of the same tests, including:
1. Vision (reading chart)
2. Refraction (spectacle test)
3. Corneal scans (including Pentacam)
We will compare these results with those from your previous visits. If any of the results show deterioration, we will discuss with you whether CXL is required.
CXL is only suitable where the corneal shape is continuing to deteriorate. This will be detected at your appointments. Beyond a certain stage however, if the cornea is too thin, it could be unsafe to perform the procedure. Usually in people in their late 30s, the cornea naturally stiffens and CXL is generally not required. Below this age, the cornea is more flexible and disease progression (and worsening vision) are more likely, although not certain, to occur.
Ahmed is an Optometrist with over 15 years experience. He is the senior Optometrist at Redgate Opticians in High Wycombe and is also currently working for the John Radcliffe Eye Clinic.