Keratoconus is a progressive eye disorder in which the cornea thins and, instead of maintaining its normal roundness, becomes cone-shaped. This bulging of the cornea causes light entering the eye to be deflected on its way to the retina. Keratoconus affects two out of every 1,000 people, who experience marked deterioration in vision, among other symptoms. Keratoconus can develop during adolescence or someone’s early 20s, and go undetected for many years. Left untreated, keratoconus can cause permanent loss of vision.
Signs and symptoms of keratoconus include:
Frequent changes in eyeglass prescription
Distorted, blurry vision
Glare or halos
Increased sensitivity to light
Difficulty driving at night
Irritation of the eyes causing excessive eye rubbing
Headaches/general pain around the eyes
Several tests are used to diagnose keratoconus, including computerized corneal topography. Corneal topography makes a three-dimensional map of the cornea to measure its curvature. The earlier keratoconus is diagnosed, the less chance it has of progressing to a point where the patient loses vision permanently.
Keratoconus Treatment: Corneal Cross-linking
A keratoconus treatment called corneal cross-linking has recently been approved in Canada. Corneal cross-linking is a procedure to strengthen the corneal tissue and slow down the progression of keratoconus. During corneal cross-linking, a combination of riboflavin eye drops (vitamin B12) and ultraviolet light are used to reinforce the bonds between collagen molecules in the eye.
The procedure can be performed either with or without the epithelium (outer portion of the cornea) intact. The riboflavin drops are gently applied to the cornea; then, the eye is exposed to a precise amount of ultraviolet (UVA) light. The UVA activates the riboflavin and causes a chemical bond to form between the small corneal collagen fibers. The procedure is quick, safe and effective.
Dr. Joseph King is pleased to offer diagnosis of keratoconus at King LASIK and refer you to a specialist if treatment is required. Please contact our practice for more details.