Diagnosing and Treating Keratoconus


Keratoconus is an eye condition in which the cornea bulges outward because it is not able to stay in its normal round shape. This can cause you to have distorted or blurry vision. It can also cause increased sensitivity to glare and light. Severe damage to the cornea’s structure can result in blindness.


According to the Cornea Research Foundation of America, roughly 50 to 200 out of every 100,000 people have keratoconus. The condition affects both eyes and occurs in people of all races. Your ophthalmologist will perform various eye examinations to make a diagnosis.

 

Diagnosing Keratoconus

 

Diagnosis begins with an assessment of your medical and family history, followed by a comprehensive eye exam. Your ophthalmologist may also perform other tests to find out more information about the shape and structure of your cornea.
 

Tests to check for keratoconus include:

  • Slit-Lamp Test: This exam involves pointing a vertical ray of light on your eye’s surface and uses a special microscope to examine your eye. The test helps your doctor view your corneal shape and detect potential issues in your cornea.

  • Eye Refraction: In this test, your doctor will use several devices to examine your eyes. These devices measure the sharpness of your vision and whether you have any problems with your eyesight.

  • Corneal Tomography: This is a special imaging test that records photos to generate a detailed map of your corneal shape. The test also measures the thickness of your cornea, and it can often spot early symptoms of keratoconus.

  • Keratometry: Using keratometry, your ophthalmologist directs a ring of light onto your cornea and examines the reflection. This helps your doctor to know the basic structure and shape of your cornea.


 

Treating Keratoconus

 

Treating keratoconus depends on the symptoms you are experiencing. If the symptoms are minor, your eye doctor will prescribe eyeglasses to correct your vision.
 

Later, your eye doctor may suggest wearing hard contact lenses to help your vision stay crisp and focused. Below are other treatment options that your eye doctor may use to address keratoconus:

  • Corneal transplant: For severe symptoms, your ophthalmologist may recommend a corneal transplant. Here, your doctor will remove the diseased parts of your cornea and then replace them with healthy cornea tissue from a donor.

  • Corneal cross-linking: Here, your doctor will use eye drops and a special ultraviolet light to reinforce your cornea. This treatment helps to reduce the bulge and harden your corneal tissue. As a result, it prevents your cornea from protruding further.

  • Intacs surgery: This treatment involves a surgical procedure, where your ophthalmologist places Intacs in your cornea. Intacs are tiny, curved devices that help flatten your corneal curve to restore vision.
     

Avoid rubbing your eyes during and after treatment. Rubbing your eyes can injure the thin tissue of the cornea and cause your symptoms to worsen. If your eyes are itchy, speak to your eye doctor about medications to control any eye allergies.


 

To learn more about keratoconus, visit Atlanta Eye Group at our offices in Atlanta and Kennesaw, Georgia. You can also call (770) 727-0772 to book an appointment today.

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