WHAT IS KERATOCONUS?
Keratoconus is a progressive ocular disease in which the normally spherical cornea begins to thin creating a dome shape that bulges outward like a cone. The cone deflects light as it enters the eye causing sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and large changes to the patient’s refractive error. Keratoconus is an autosomal dominant condition that can run in families.
- Family History. Patients who have had parents or family members with this eye condition or systemic disorders such as Down syndrome have a higher risk to develop the disease in their lifetime.
- Chronic eye inflammation. Having chronic inflammation from allergies and irritants may increase the risk of developing this eye condition.
- Eye rubbing
- Age. The ocular condition is generally diagnosed at an early age, during teenagehood.
In the early stages, keratoconus often causes a minor blurring of the vision. The symptoms look like the symptoms of refractive errors. When the disease progresses, vision problems appear. Far and near vision becomes impaired, night vision usually becomes poor. Patients may have an impoverished vision in only one eye as keratoconus usually develops on an eye or the other. Symptoms also include sensitivity to bright light and eye strain. Keratoconus is normally painless.
To diagnose keratoconus, your eye doctor will start by looking at your family history and conduct eye tests to get more details on the shape of your cornea. Diagnosis includes:
- Eye refraction – Your eye doctor will use optical tools to determine your vision’s health and check for any vision problems.
- Slit-lamp examination – In this test, a vertical beam of light and a low-powered microscope are used to view the eye. Your eye doctor evaluates the shape of your cornea and potential problems in your eye.
- Keratometry – Your eye doctor makes a circle of light on your cornea to measure the reflection and see the basic shape of your cornea.
- Computerized corneal mapping – This is a photographic test that creates a detailed map of the cornea. It can detect early signs of keratoconus.
Treatments depend on the severity of the disease. The goal of treating keratoconus is to slow the progression of the disease and improve vision. Mild to moderate keratoconus can be treated with prescription glasses and hybrid contact lenses, or intacs. This can work very well if the cornea becomes stable. A procedure called corneal cross-linking can also be done to control the eye condition.
At Eyepic, we have added the iLink™ medical device to our Graham Eye Care to treat Keratoconus. It is the first FDA-approved cross-linking procedure for Keratoconus. iLink™ is becoming the standard to perform cross-linking around the world with more than 400,000 operations performed.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Ulcerative keratitis can occur. Patients should be monitored for resolution of epithelial defects. The most common ocular adverse reaction was corneal opacity (haze). Other ocular side effects include punctate keratitis, corneal striae, dry eye, corneal epithelium defect, eye pain, light sensitivity, reduced visual acuity, and blurred vision. These are not all of the side effects of the corneal collagen cross-linking treatment. For more information, go to http://www.livingwithkeratoconus.com to obtain the FDA-approved product labeling. You are encouraged to report all side effects to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.