Actions You Can Take to Prevent Keratoconus From Worsening
Submitted by Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center on August 3, 2020
If you’re having a problem with your vision, it’s important to see an eye doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye conditions. Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center provides comprehensive eye exams that get to the root of your symptoms. Our physicians offer state-of-the-art treatment once you receive a diagnosis.
Keratoconus typically develops in your late teens or early 20s. Your cornea weakens and thins and then becomes misshapen, developing a bulge that distorts your vision. The thought of a permanent condition that could limit or destroy your vision is frightening, but early treatment mitigates the worst effects.
Many keratoconus symptoms are similar to those of other eye conditions. Your Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center physician is a specialist trained to spot keratoconus and differentiate it from other eye diseases. If you have any of the following eye problems, make an appointment right away:
- Blurry vision
- Cloudy vision
- Glare from lights; halos around light
- Difficulty with night driving
- Having to increase the strength of your prescription eyeglasses
- Double vision in just one eye
- Eye pain or headaches
Causes of keratoconus
Researchers are uncertain about all of the causes of this eye disease, but have observed commonalities among patients:
- Genetic link: If close family members have the condition, you’re more likely to have it also.
- Rubbing your eyes: If this is a frequent habit, now’s a good time to stop.
- Allergies: Allergies inflame the eyes, and inflammation may lead to corneal disruption.
- Possible excess exposure to ultraviolet rays
If you have keratoconus and have children, physicians advise having their vision checked starting at age 10. Early treatment helps prevent the worst effects of keratoconus.
How can I prevent keratoconus from worsening?
You have a role to play in taking care of your eyes.
If keratoconus runs in your family, be sure to alert your Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center physician because you are at an increased risk of suffering from the condition. The condition worsens over time, so early diagnosis and treatment are critical.
Annual eye exams
Schedule your next annual eye exam at this year’s exam, and put it on your calendar. Annual screenings can spot early keratoconus. Follow your doctor’s recommendations if you receive a diagnosis of keratoconus, and be sure not to miss any follow-up appointments.
Effective keratoconus treatments
Keratoconus is highly treatable. The first line of defense is prescription eyeglasses. Eventually, you’ll likely need contact lenses. Your doctor may prescribe soft contact lenses at first, but as your eyes change, he may switch you to hard contact lenses. If the glasses or contacts don’t help, we may recommend one of these treatments:
Corneal collagen cross-linking
Your physician may recommend corneal cross-linking if the progression of your keratoconus continues. He performs this procedure right in the office. First, he removes the top layer of the cornea and then places drops of vitamin B2, riboflavin, directly on the eye. Then he exposes the eye to ultraviolet light, which activates the riboflavin. He put a temporary contact on your eye to protect it while it’s healing, and you continue to apply vitamin B2 drops at home.
Although it sounds rigorous, the procedure doesn’t hurt, and in many cases, it stops keratoconus progression. About half of patients even have improved vision because the procedure flattens out the bulge in the cornea.
Corneal ring implant: Intacs®
Small, crescent-shaped implants called Intacs are surgically placed around the edge of your cornea. Once in place, they help flatten the cornea to improve vision. Intacs may also slow the progression of keratoconus.
Your eye doctor may recommend a corneal transplant if keratoconus wasn’t diagnosed early enough and your eyesight is severely compromised. Thanks to those who agree to be an organ donor, you’ll receive a new cornea from a donor if your doctor needs to remove part of all of yours. The procedure takes about one hour. You’ll still need glasses or contacts after the surgery.
Before considering any treatment plan, make sure to consult one of our expert ophthalmologists.
Having issues with your vision? Our experienced eye specialists are experts at diagnosing and treating your eye condition. Call Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center, or book an appointment online today.