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It's no secret that a variety of eye diseases and disorders can cause distorted vision, from age-related problems such as cataracts to eyeball irregularities that create common refractive errors. but if your vision problems and discomforts are getting worse and worse, then you may be suffering from an eye disease called keratoconus. Fortunately, this progressive deformation of the cornea can respond well to corrective measures -- and our Columbia eye doctor here at Apex EyeCare, Dr. Michael McClay, can provide expert keratoconus treatment.
Normally the cornea of the eye (the clear "window" which covers the pupil and iris) is semi-spherical, a configuration that guides incoming light into the pupil, through the lens and onto the retina to create sharp, focused images. Imperfections in the shape of the cornea can interfere with refraction just as an elongated or foreshortened eyeball can; the results may include vision problems such as astigmatism or myopia nearsightedness). While small deformations in the cornea's curvature are common occurrences, keratoconus is a more severe version of the problem. This eye disease can cause the cornea to bulge outward unevenly, in a cone-like shape, causing ever-worsening nearsightedness, astigmatism and sensitivity to glare. Occasionally the cornea may even develop a split or tear, causing a sudden worsening of vision that may take weeks to subside.
No one is entirely sure why approximately 1 in 2,000 people are susceptible to keratoconus, although it appears to run in families, suggesting a genetic component. Oxidative damage may cause corneal tissues to thin out and become weaker, which causes them to bulge outward. Other factor may include UV exposure and chronic irritation, including habitual eye rubbing. The eye disease usually appears during adolescence and grows increasingly worse over the next couple of decades, at which point it may (or may not) slow its progress.
Many cases of keratoconus can be treated with eyeglasses or soft contact lenses -- but more advanced cases may require contacts that won't simply conform to your abnormal corneal curvature. Our Columbia eye doctor can offer several specialized contact lens options, including:
If your keratoconus is too severe for corrective lenses, your Columbia optometrist can refer you to an ophthalmologist for techniques to strengthen, reinforce or even transplant the cornea.
Call today for an appointment with our Columbia optometrist. We're your keratoconus treatment resource!