Recent estimates indicate that 1 in 2000 Americans will develop keratoconus (KC). What is it, who will develop the condition, and how is it treated?
Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to become extremely thin. The result is a cornea with a bulge, appearing much like a cone or football.
The exact cause remains under investigation but recent studies indicate that it may be due to an imbalance of the enzymes within the cornea. Most doctors agree that eye rubbing is very commonly associated with the worsening of keratoconus.
Some researchers believe that keratoconus is genetically linked. Current information indicates there is less than a 10% chance that a blood relative of a patient with keratoconus will have the disease. The majority of patients with keratoconus do not have other family members who are affected.
Keratoconus typically affects both eyes; however, symptoms may differ in each eye. Warning signs often include:
The treatment of Keratoconus will depend on the severity of the condition. In the earliest phases, it can be treated with glasses or contact lenses. Hard contact lenses may be required to help focus light evenly. Intracorneal segments may be used to reduce or eliminate myopia and astigmatism. As the disease progresses, a corneal transplant may be required.