Definition
Keratoconus, meaning "cone shaped," describes a condition in which the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) becomes thin and protrudes. This abnormal shape can cause serious distortion of visual images.
The cause of keratoconus is unknown. It usually appears in a patient during their late teens or early twenties. The disease slowly progresses for 10 to 20 years as the cornea steepens and scars. Although both eyes may be affected, one eye is usually worse than the other.
Vigorous eye rubbing can add to the disease process, therefore patients with keratoconus are advised to avoid rubbing their eyes.
Symptoms
  • Frequent changing of glasses or contact lens prescriptions
  • Blurring and distortion of vision
  • Glare
  • Light sensitivity and irritation
  • Scarring of the cornea
The symptoms described above may not necessarily mean that you have keratoconus. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact your eye doctor for a complete exam.
Treatment
Although there are no medicines known which will prevent progression of the disease, mild cases of keratoconus can be successfully treated with glasses or specially designed contact lenses. When vision is no longer satisfactory with glasses or contact lenses, a corneal transplant may be recommended. In addition, intracorneal rings have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of keratoconus. These crescent-shaped plastic rings are surgically placed on the outer edge of the cornea.