What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a disease of the eye, specifically of the cornea.
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The cornea is the clear front part of the eye. Think of it like a window that light has to pass through to enter your eye. Behind the cornea is the Lens that focuses the light onto the Retina at back of the eye. The Retina converts the light into nerve signals that your brain can understand. In a normal eye, the cornea is smoothly rounded. The light passes through evenly onto the lens.
In an eye with Keratoconus, the cornea thins and bulges out into an irregular cone shape. The light coming through is distorted the lens cannot focus it properly and vision is affected. The name actually means coning of the cornea, although the actual distortion of the cornea is not as regular as a cone. In fact it’s this irregularity that makes the vision so hard to correct.
What causes Keratoconus?
The simple answer is that no one is sure. Genetics seem to play a part but it doesn’t always run in families (although sometimes it does). Too much eye rubbing can make it worse, and may be one of the reasons for getting it in the first place. Problems with badly fitting contact lenses may play a part. But… there is no one answer that everyone agrees on. There are also different opinions on how rare it is. Numbers range from 1 in 500 to 1 in 2000. So, it’s not exactly common, but not really rare either.
How bad does Keratoconus get?
The first thing to know is that, for most people, the disease affects both eyes, but you can have it only one eye. It’s also usual for one eye to be worse than the other. The disease can range from very mild, where you have almost no vision problems, to severe where you can have very poor vision. Some of the typical problems with Keratoconus are:
- “Ghosting” which is blurry double or treble images mostly seen when you bright lights against a dark background, this can make night vision poor and have an impact on night driving
- Sensitivity to light
- Blurred vision
- Eye strain
- In more advanced cases, your cornea may be scarred.
- In the worst cases, you can get a localised rupture of the cornea called corneal Hydrops.
Free – About Keratoconus Information pack
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