Many people suffer with vision problems for years without knowing their blurred vision, glare or halos are due to a condition called keratoconus. Here, Duke optometrist, Jill Bryant, OD, explains what you need to know about this corneal disease, which affects about one in 2,000 people, and where you can get help.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus occurs when cornea becomes thin and takes on a cone shape. The changes can happen relatively quickly, or take several years to develop.
What Are the Signs of Keratoconus?
Keratoconus can cause blurred vision, halos at night and streaking of lights. Regular eye exams can identify keratoconus early. You should see your eye doctor if you experience changes in vision, glare, distortion, halos, light streaking or you see triple ghost-like images.
What Causes Keratoconus?
No one is sure exactly what causes keratoconus. It appears to run in families, but also may have some environmental influences. For example, there is some evidence to suggest it may be related to chronic eye rubbing. It often starts in the teenage years and twenties but can happen later as well.
How Is Keratoconus Treated?
Eyeglasses can correct mild vision problems. Custom-fitted contact lenses referred to as specialty lenses, may be prescribed. Some patients may need surgery, including a corneal transplant, if the condition is severe.
Is Support Available?
Duke brings together those living with keratoconus through a regularly scheduled support group, called Keratoconus Connection. Anyone with the condition is welcome to attend.
For more on keratoconus, watch this WRAL story featuring Jill Bryant, MD.