Understanding Keratoconus: A Journey through the Cornea's Curvature

August 2, 2023

Welcome to our informative blog, where we explore the enigmatic eye condition known as Keratoconus. Join us as we delve into the intricacies of this progressive disorder that affects the cornea's shape and vision clarity. From causes to symptoms and treatment options, we'll cover it all, providing you with valuable insights into this unique ocular challenge.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye disorder that causes the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, to gradually thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. This irregular curvature distorts light entering the eye, leading to visual disturbances such as blurred vision, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and increased sensitivity to light.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms

Keratoconus often emerges during adolescence or early adulthood and may progress at varying rates. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions.
  2. Blurred or distorted vision, especially at night.
  3. Sensitivity to light (photophobia).
  4. Halos around lights.
  5. Eye strain and discomfort.
  6. Frequent eye rubbing (which can exacerbate the condition).

Causes of Keratoconus

The exact cause of Keratoconus is not fully understood, but several factors may contribute to its development:

  1. Genetics: Family history of Keratoconus is considered a significant risk factor, suggesting a genetic predisposition.
  2. Eye Rubbing: Continuous eye rubbing, especially in individuals with allergies, can weaken the cornea and contribute to Keratoconus progression.
  3. Eye Structure and Collagen: Abnormalities in the corneal structure and collagen fibers may be involved in the development of Keratoconus.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

An early diagnosis of Keratoconus is crucial for managing the condition effectively. Eye care professionals can use various diagnostic tools, including corneal topography and imaging techniques, to assess the shape and thickness of the cornea.

Treatment options may include:

  • Glasses or Soft Contact Lenses: In the early stages, mild cases of Keratoconus can often be managed with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses.
  • Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses: RGP lenses can help improve vision by providing a smooth and even surface for light to pass through the cornea.
  • Scleral Contact Lenses: Scleral lenses vault over the cornea, providing better comfort and vision for individuals with advanced Keratoconus.
  • Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL): This procedure involves using ultraviolet light and riboflavin drops to strengthen the cornea and slow down the progression of Keratoconus.
  • Intacs or Keraring Implants: These are small devices inserted into the cornea to help reshape it, improving vision.
  • Corneal Transplant: In severe cases where vision cannot be adequately corrected with other methods, a corneal transplant may be considered.

Living with Keratoconus: Embracing Challenges and Achieving Visual Success

  1. Knowledge is Power

Educating yourself about Keratoconus is the first step towards effective management. Understand the condition, its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options. Regularly communicate with your eye care professional, and don't hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification about your eye health.

  1. Partner with a Skilled Eye Care Professional

Finding a knowledgeable and experienced eye care professional, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist specializing in Keratoconus, is crucial. Your eye care provider will guide you through the best treatment plan for your specific condition, ensuring you receive personalized care.

  1. Embrace Customized Vision Correction

Vision correction options for Keratoconus vary depending on the severity of the condition. Embrace customized solutions, such as rigid gas permeable (RGP) or scleral contact lenses, designed to improve vision by providing a smooth and stable surface for light to pass through the cornea. Work closely with your eye care professional to find the best-fit lenses for your comfort and visual needs.

  1. Focus on Eye Health and Hygiene

Maintaining good eye health and hygiene is essential when living with Keratoconus. Follow your eye care professional's recommendations for contact lens care and hygiene practices. Avoid excessive eye rubbing, as it can worsen the condition, and protect your eyes from dust, allergens, and ultraviolet (UV) light.

  1. Monitor Progression

Keratoconus is a progressive condition, and regular monitoring is essential to track its development. Attend scheduled follow-up appointments with your eye care professional to assess any changes in your corneal shape and vision, allowing for timely adjustments to your treatment plan.

Dr. Ralph Paternoster: Your Eye Expert

Dr. Ralph Paternoster at Park Professional Eyecare can provide expert assistance to patients with Keratoconus through comprehensive eye examinations, accurate diagnosis, and personalized management plans. With a focus on understanding the unique needs of each individual, Dr. Paternoster offers specialized contact lens fittings, including scleral lenses and rigid gas-permeable lenses, to improve visual acuity and comfort for those affected by Keratoconus. 

His collaborative approach involves working closely with Ophthalmologists and Corneal Specialists to ensure patients receive coordinated care and access to advanced treatment options when necessary. With his expertise and compassion, Dr. Paternoster is dedicated to guiding patients through their Keratoconus journey, optimizing their vision and overall eye health for a better quality of life.

Don't let Keratoconus hinder your daily activities or quality of life. Reach out to Dr. Paternoster today by calling Park Professional Eyecare at (718) 577-1094 or by visiting his website to schedule an appointment.

Your eyes are in good hands with Dr. Paternoster, who is committed to guiding you on your journey to improved vision and eye health.

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