WHAT IS KERATOCONUS?
Keratoconus is a degenerative disease of the eyeball, which is characterized by thinning and a deformation of the cornea, which will take the form of a cone. The cornea has an essential role in the vision mechanism, because it is the first medium through which the light rays pass into our eyes. The lack of uniformity deviates the rays, and the vision will be distorted.
The disease can affect one or both eyes, 1 out of 1,000 people, and generally begins in adolescence or after the age of 20. The causes are still unknown. Studies have shown, however, that a combination of environmental factors (such as excessive eye friction, allergies), some genetic diseases (such as Down Syndrome, Marfan Syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) and the lack of important anchoring fibers that stabilize structurally cornea, may lead to keratoconus.
Early signs of keratoconus are blurred vision and the need for frequent changes in dioptria. Other symptoms include: increased sensitivity to light, difficulty in driving the night, halos and reflections especially at night, eye fatigue, headaches. In more serious cases, sight can not be corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses. Astigmatism is often present.
For most keratoconus patients, the basic treatment is optic correction with rigid contact lenses. They do not take the shape of the cornea like soft contact lenses and allow the light rays to project in a clearer way on the retina. The result is regaining visual acuity and slowing the progression of the disease.
Very useful is the corneal crosslinking, indicated to slow or stop progression of the disease. It is a non-invasive procedure involving eye drops of riboflavin and vitamin B2 and corneal exposure for 15-30 minutes to UV-A rays. The treatment induces natural collagen linkages in the corneal fibers to prevent them from becoming weak. This phenomenon also occurs naturally with the aging of the cornea, but treatment accelerates this process and intensifies it.
Advantages offered are multiple:
- Improves the qualities of the cornea (strength, stiffness, biomechanical stability)
- Prevents disease progression and additional damage to vision,
- Improves the wear of rigid contact lenses,
- Postponing the need for corneal transplantation
Since there are no specific manifestations of the disease and all the symptoms presented may be associated with other ocular problems, regular ophthalmologic controls are recommended for a correct diagnosis.
Our advice: Do not let the keratoconus progress to the final stage! Due to the high corneal thinness, surgical intervention becomes more complicated, the longer healing time, the slower the recovery of visual acuity.
By intervening in the initial phases visual acuity is rehabilitated up to 98%, while avoiding the possibility of getting into the acute phase of keratoconus, where there is a risk of losing the eye as an organ.