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What Is Keratoconus and How Can You Prevent It from Worsening?

Keratoconus is an eye disease that manifests itself in your late teens or early 20s. Although it’s a progressive condition, it’s treatable. And the sooner treatment begins, the better your chances of overcoming it and living normally. 

Dr. Leonard Achiron and Dr. David O’Day are skilled eye specialists who diagnose and treat keratoconus and a host of other eye conditions at Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center. Here’s more about this unusual eye condition. 

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus affects how your cornea is shaped and, therefore, how it directs light that enters your eye. The cornea is responsible for more than half of your total optic power and has a significant impact on your level of vision. 

The cornea refracts the light that enters the eye, directing it to the correct locations, mainly the retina. To do this, the cornea is shaped like a perfect dome, and is secured by tiny collagen fibers. Keratoconus is a condition that develops when these tiny fibers weaken, allowing your cornea to become misshapen, more like a cone than the dome required for unimpeded sight.

What are the symptoms of keratoconus?

The symptoms of keratoconus are common to a number of other eye conditions, so it’s extremely difficult to determine if you have it on your own. Only a trained ophthalmologist is equipped to accurately diagnose keratoconus. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with our eye specialists at Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center:

Keratoconus has some genetic connection, so if it runs in your family, you should be examined regularly. If you develop this condition, be sure your children are examined regularly beginning by age 10. 

How is keratoconus treated? 

Researchers haven’t nailed down a root cause of keratoconus, but they’ve uncovered some contributing factors besides genetics. They include excessive eye rubbing, chronic dry eyes, overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, and contact lenses that don’t fit properly. There also seems to be a connection to asthma. 

Fortunately, keratoconus is treatable. The most simple and noninvasive solution is to begin wearing corrective eyeglasses. In some cases, soft contact lenses can help reshape the cornea. Beyond these solutions, the following treatments may be recommended: 

Corneal cross-linking

Corneal cross-linking strengthens the bonds in your corneal tissue. Your Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center specialist can use UV light and eye drops to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus.

Corneal transplant

A corneal transplant removes and replaces your cornea with one from a donor. This is reserved for advanced cases of keratoconus. 

Intacs® implants

Small implants called Intacs are surgically placed around your cornea to help flatten it and restore its original shape. This can also slow the progression of keratoconus and improve your vision. 

The experienced eye care team at Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center conducts a full examination and consults with you about all available options, including which one best meets your needs. 

Are you or a loved one experiencing blurred or distorted vision? Residents of Atlanta and the surrounding communities can call to schedule a consultation and exam, or simply use the online booking tool located at the top of any page on this website.

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