Recognizing the Symptoms of Keratoconus: When to Seek Evaluation and Treatment

You might have keratoconus if you have blurry or distorted vision, see light rings around bright objects, or have trouble seeing at night. You might also have the condition if you keep changing your eyeglass prescription.

Keratoconus changes the shape of your cornea. Normally, your cornea is round and smooth, which helps focus light into your eye. But in keratoconus, your cornea becomes thin and bulges into a cone shape. Thus, your vision gets blurry, distorted, or light-sensitive.



Symptoms of Keratoconus

Keratoconus usually develops gradually over several years, starting in your teens or early twenties. It may affect one or both eyes, but one eye is typically worse. The symptoms depend on how advanced and severe the condition is.

Some of the common symptoms of keratoconus are:
  • Blurred or distorted vision.

  • Increased sensitivity to bright light and glare.

  • Difficulty seeing at night or in low light.

  • Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription.

  • Astigmatism (irregular curvature of the eye)

  • Nearsightedness (difficulty seeing far away)

  • Double vision or ghost images.

  • Eyestrain or eye irritation

  • Headaches.

Sometimes, keratoconus can tear the cornea's inner layer and make it swell suddenly. Acute corneal eyedrops can cause severe pain, redness, and vision loss. You need to get immediate medical help if this happens.


What Causes Keratoconus?

The exact cause of this eye condition is unknown. Yet it may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. Some factors that may increase your risk of getting keratoconus are having a family history of it, having allergies or rubbing your eyes often, or going through hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy.
It can also come from eye injuries, surgeries, or certain diseases like Down syndrome, Marfan syndrome, or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.



Get a comprehensive eye exam if you have keratoconus symptoms. Your eye doctor will want to know your medical and family history, check your vision and eye pressure, and examine your cornea with a slit lamp microscope.

To measure your cornea's shape and thickness, your eye doctor may do some tests, such as corneal topography, corneal tomography, and keratometry. These tests can diagnose keratoconus and show its stage and progression.



The severity and progression of keratoconus determine the treatment. The primary goals of treatment are to slow the cornea's shape worsening, improve vision, and prevent complications.
Some of the treatment options for keratoconus are:
  • Eyeglasses or soft contact lenses

  • Hard contact lenses.

  • Corneal cross-linking.

  • Corneal implants.

  • Corneal transplant.


When to Seek Evaluation and Treatment 

Keratoconus can worsen over time and affect your vision and quality of life. If you have any symptoms or a family history of the condition, you should get evaluated and treated as soon as possible. You can maintain your vision and slow the progression of the disease by receiving an early diagnosis and treatment.

Keratoconus affects your cornea and vision. It makes your vision blurry, distorted, and sensitive. You may also experience poor night vision or low-light vision. It can swell, scar, or infect your cornea. But you can diagnose and treat keratoconus with options that slow it down, improve your vision, and prevent damage. The sooner you get help, the better your vision and life will be.

For more on keratoconus, visit Ridgeview Eye Care at our Olathe, Kansas, office. Call (913) 270-8598 to schedule an appointment today.

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