Keratoconus is a very slow progressive eye condition that affects the cornea. The normally round, dome-shaped cornea weakens and thins, causing a cone-like bulge to develop. The regular curvature of the cornea becomes irregular, resulting in increasing nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism that have to be corrected with special glasses or contact lenses. The cornea is responsible for refracting most of the light coming into the eye, therefore corneal abnormalities result in significant visual impairment.
Diagnosis of Keratoconus
Diagnosis is made by performing a complete eye exam including a slit lamp exam, a topography study which evaluates the curvature as well as the thickness of the cornea. These tests also help monitor progression over time.
Causes of Keratoconus
Genetics have a role in keratoconus as well as chronic eye inflammation. Eye rubbing has also been found to contribute to the development of keratoconus.
Treatment of Keratoconus
COLLAGEN CROSSLINKING: This office procedure employs a combination of Riboflavin solution and ultraviolet light to create new collagen links that lead to a stiffer cornea. The goal is to strengthen the collagen to prevent further deformation of the cornea and progression of keratoconus.
RIGID CONTACT LENSES: These gas permeable and scleral lenses which have predictable and regular contour are fitted and worn during waking hours to restore vision.
INTACTS: Implantable corneal ring segments are inserted into the middle layer of the cornea with the assistance of femtosecond laser. They are positioned so that they will help flatten the cornea and lessen the astigmatism. This can improve uncorrected vision, but contact lenses may still be required for best corrected vision. Intacts do not prevent progression of keratoconus.
Contact Washington Eye Physicians and Surgeons to schedule a consultation with our experienced keratoconus specialists in Chevy Chase, MD.