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Keratoconus is not only a serious threat to your visual acuity -- it's also a puzzling one. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about keratoconus here at Apex EyeCare in Columbia SC.
What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an abnormality of the corneal tissues that causes your corneas to lose their normal spherical contour. The corneas commonly bulge forward in a cone-like shape, although other irregularities may also occur.
What causes keratoconus?
The problem has been associated with congenital weakness or thinness of the corneal tissue (which would explain why it sometimes runs in families), oxidative damage to the tissue, and even excessive eye rubbing.
How does keratoconus affect vision?
Keratoconus typically causes significant myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. To complicate things further, each of your eyes may have a different degree of keratoconus.
Why has my vision suddenly gotten much worse?
Advanced keratoconus may cause an occasional split in the cornea, a condition known as hydrops. This may cause sudden eye redness and significant worsening of vision. Although the split eventually heals, the remaining scar may continue to interfere with vision.
At what stage of life does keratoconus strike?
While some cases of keratoconus strike late in life, the condition usually makes its first appearance in early adulthood. It then grows progressively worse for a couple of decades before finally slowing down.
How can your optometrist at Apex EyeCare compensate for my vision problems?
Our optometrist at Apex EyeCare, Dr. McClay, can evaluate the severity of your keratoconus and how rapidly your vision seems to be changing. Most mild to moderate cases can be compensated for with corrective lenses such as glass and contact lenses.
Why might my keratoconus call for specialized contact lenses?
Standard soft contacts conform to the shape of the corneas, so they can't adequately counter the bulge of keratoconus. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, which maintain a constant curvature of their own, are usually more effective for this condition.
What kinds of contacts work well for keratoconus?
If you find RGP lenses uncomfortable, we can provide hybrid lenses with soft rims to provide a perfect mix of comfort and high-quality correction. Scleral contacts are a popular choice for keratoconus because the "vault" completely over the misshapen cornea and sit on the white of the eye, providing total compensation for abnormal lens curvature.
What if corrective lenses can't compensate for my keratoconus?
If your keratoconus is too advanced for corrective lenses to treat, don't despair. Our optometrist can refer you to a specialized for techniques such as corneal cross-linking (a method of strengthening the corneal tissues), Intacs (inserted devices that help the corneas maintain a constant shape), or even corneal transplants to restore clear vision.
Bring your keratoconus (and keratoconus questions) to Apex EyeCare for a comprehensive examination and treatment options to help you enjoy life again. Call (803) 741-7177 today!