Keratoconus Treatment Can Preserve Clear Vision

Keratoconus is a progressive disease that causes blurred vision and sensitivity to light. It is imperative to diagnose the condition as early as possible so a specialist can perform surgical treatment if necessary. While there is no cure for keratoconus, early intervention by the doctors at our Austin, TX, practice can significantly slow the progression of the disease. Non-surgical treatments are available at Broberg Eye Care, however, surgery is often necessary when those treatments no longer work.  

What is Keratoconus?

A normal cornea is round and dome-like. In patients with keratoconus, the cornea thins and becomes cone-like in shape. This type of corneal condition can affect just one eye or both, and typically affects teens and young adults. Current research suggests imbalanced enzymes in the eye leave the cornea vulnerable to damage, which leads to the development of keratoconus. It is also believed that the condition is genetic and can affect multiple family members. Other causes may include excessive sun exposure, ill-fitting contact lenses, and chronic eye inflammation or infections. 

Image of normal cornea and keratoconus

Keratoconus involves changes in the shape of the cornea due to weakened collagen fibers.

Signs and Symptoms of Keratoconus

The most common initial sign of keratoconus is blurred vision, especially when trying to view or read objects up close. Other signs of keratoconus may include: 

  • The appearance of “halos” around lights at night, making driving difficult
  • Blurred and double vision
  • Heightened sensitivity to bright light
  • Eye strain and eye fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Sore or irritated eyes from excessive rubbing

These symptoms may indicate keratoconus, or they may result from another serious eye condition. The only way to find out is through a professional eye exam and proper diagnosis. 

How is the Condition Treated?

There are a variety of treatment options available for keratoconus to slow the progression of the disease and improve your vision. Early detection allows for more conservative treatment options. For example, custom-made soft contact lenses are a great option and are typically more comfortable than gas-permeable lenses. 

There are a variety of treatment options available for keratoconus to slow the progression of the disease and improve your vision.

More advanced treatment options are available for patients who no longer benefit from contacts and eyeglasses. Intacs® are surgically implanted inserts placed just beneath the eye’s surface. These inserts help to reshape the cornea and improve vision. In severe cases, we may recommend a corneal transplant. This type of procedure removes the diseased cornea and replaces it with donor tissue. While the procedure can restore your vision to a degree, you will likely still need contact lenses or eye glasses. 

Fortunately, only a small percentage of patients suffering from keratoconus ever need a corneal transplant. With regular eye exams, we can usually detect the disease early enough to avoid the need for invasive treatments. The type of corrective procedure performed will determine your recovery timeline

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to keratoconus, you should contact our office right away to schedule an appointment. Our doctors can thoroughly examine your eyes to determine the cause and recommend an appropriate treatment option. With early detection and intervention, we can prevent symptoms from worsening and strive to keep your vision stable.

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