Keratoconus is a corneal disorder that causes progressive impairments to a person's vision. The condition is caused by a weakening in the structure of the cornea, which is the clear, rounded window over your eye that refracts light so you can see clearly. When the corneal fibers lose stability, the cornea bulges forward into a cone shape. As a result, your eye cannot focus light correctly and your vision can become distorted or blurry. Keratoconus can be an inherited disease, but other possible causes include corneal injuries (such as chronic eye rubbing), certain medical conditions, and extensive UV exposure. For some individuals, symptoms can begin as early as their teens or 20s. Typically, one of the first signs of keratoconus is noticeable vision changes that are not corrected with glasses or contacts.
At Vance Thompson Vision, our ophthalmologists and optometrists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating many eye disorders and conditions, including corneal irregularities, such as keratoconus. We offer some of the most cutting-edge treatments available in the industry to improve your sight and help prevent future vision loss. To learn more about keratoconus and available treatments, reach out to our office in South Sioux City, NE to book an appointment.
"I have been 100% satisfied with Vance Thompson with special recognition to Dr, Justin Schweitzer. I am a Keratoconus patient with two transplants. Dr. Schweitzer fitted perfectly two sclhlerl lensess in both eyes that I absolutely love. My vision as a result has been near 20/20 in both eyes since, The staff is very friendly and easy to work with. Nice waiting area with complimentary coffee, soda, water and snacks. I would highly recommend Vance Thompson Vision."- J.A. / Yelp / Jan 18, 2019
"I have a eye disease called keratoconus. As my keratoconus got worse, many eye doctors told me I would never be able to see very well again, until I meet Dr. Berdahl. He was able to get my vision all the way back to 20/20, something I expected would never happen again. He is now the only Dr. with whom I will trust my eyes."- B.P. / Google / Nov 06, 2015
Best Candidates for Treatment
To determine your specific issue, our trained specialists perform comprehensive eye exams, during which we check for a range of eye conditions and diseases, including keratoconus. When a patient has keratoconus, their vision gradually worsens over time as the cornea bulges from its normal rounded curve into an irregular cone shape. However, you won't notice your vision deterioration right at first, as it takes time to progress. In more advanced stages of the condition, you may notice vision difficulties while you read, drive, or watch TV. Patients at higher risk for developing keratoconus are those with a family history of the disease or certain medical conditions, such as Down syndrome, asthma, or itchy eyes.
Keratoconus Treatment Options
Based on the severity of your condition, we can offer multiple treatments to address keratoconus. In the earlier stages of keratoconus, you may notice that contact lenses or glasses work well to improve your vision. But over time, your eyesight can worsen and a more aggressive solution may be needed to correct the shape of your cornea. During your initial consultation at Vance Thompson Vision, your specialist will perform an eye exam and discuss available treatment options in order to create a customized treatment plan. We may recommend the following options:
- Corneal cross-linking: Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive treatment that involves the application of riboflavin eye drops followed by exposing the eyes to a UV light. When the light is combined with the riboflavin, it works to strengthen the corneal collagen fibers. The technique can work well to prevent surgery for individuals who are in the earlier stages of keratoconus.
- Corneal transplant: During a corneal transplant, the unhealthy cornea tissue is removed and replaced with a healthy donor sample. It is the most advanced treatment for keratoconus, and while it is less commonly used to treat keratoconus, it has high success rates.
What to Expect
You can expect to attend regular follow-up appointments with our eye care professionals to monitor the progression of your condition. Keratoconus causes gradually diminished vision due to the cornea's inability to refract light onto the retina, causing the inability to see clearly to drive, read, or view objects. In the earlier stages of the condition, our team may suggest wearing glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision. We will create a customized plan to treat and manage your condition so you can have improved vision and quality of life.
Keratoconus Is Treatable
Having regular eye examinations is an important part of maintaining your overall vision and eye health. Eye conditions, such as keratoconus, can greatly impact your ability to see clearly so we recommend scheduling an exam at Vance Thompson Vision if you have noticed any indications of corneal problems, such as decreased vision. Call our South Sioux City, NE office to schedule a consultation with our team of world-class specialists.