Vision Changes? It Could Be Keratoconus: Know the Signs

There are some eye problems most people know about. For example, if you have astigmatism, you probably don’t have to explain to many people. Then there are conditions that aren’t exactly rare but aren’t well-known, either. Keratoconus is such a problem. 

The experts at Cooper Eye Center have treated hundreds of patients with keratoconus. They are familiar with the condition, its symptoms, and the most appropriate treatments, depending on numerous factors. 

A healthy cornea versus a cornea with keratoconus

Your cornea plays a vital role in your vision. It’s the clear covering over your outer eye. It helps focus the light as it enters your eye. 

Normally, your cornea is dome-shaped. When you have keratoconus, it becomes shaped more like a cone than a dome. The change in shape affects how your eye handles the light. 

A cone-shaped cornea can cause blurry or distorted vision, a greater sensitivity to light and glare, a frequently changing eyeglasses prescription, and cloudy vision, which can occur suddenly. 

Timing of symptoms

Most people with keratoconus begin to have symptoms when they are in their teens or late twenties. It’s possible for symptoms to begin later when you’re in your 30s or 40s, but that’s much rarer. 

Usually, symptoms worsen over a long period of time, sometimes as long as 10 or 20 years. So, while it’s most likely you had mild symptoms in your teens or 20s, you may not be aware of the problem until you’re older. 

There may be a genetic component to keratoconus. About one in every 10 people with the condition have a family member who also has it, but scientists aren’t sure about what causes the condition. It’s possible that certain allergies increase your likelihood of developing keratoconus. 

Tests to diagnose keratoconus

When our expert tests your eyes to determine how your cornea is shaped, they may perform an eye refraction test to look for vision problems, a slit-lamp examination to evaluate your cornea specifically, keratometry to examine the shape of your cornea, or computerized corneal mapping to look at a detailed map of your cornea. Each of these tests reveals important information about your eye. 

Treating keratoconus

The best treatment for keratoconus depends on your symptoms, as well as how far the condition has progressed. 

Early on, you may be able to wear eyeglasses to correct the problem. Later, special contact lenses may be necessary. Some other treatments include: 

If you’ve been diagnosed with keratoconus, or you suspect you may have it, schedule an appointment at Cooper Eye Center. We have two convenient locations, and our experts can explain your treatment options clearly. 

You can request an appointment at our Manhattan or our Brooklyn office online, or you can call the location that works best for you and we’ll be happy to schedule your appointment

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