A progressive thinning of the cornea causing it to bulge and rob you of the ability to lead a normal life
Who gets keratoconus?
Between 1 in 500 and 1 in 450 people get keratoconus. It usually first affects people in puberty.
YOUR CORNEA IS THINNING AND BULGING – LIKE A HERNIA
While you may not notice anything wrong in its very early stages, an optometrist may tell you that you have early signs of keratoconus. Unchecked, you’ll notice an inability to focus properly, mild blurring of vision, slightly distorted vision, where straight lines look bent or wavy. You may have an increased sensitivity to light and glare. You may see redness in your eyes and experience swelling. It may be getting worse, quickly. In later stages of keratoconus you experience more blurry and distorted vision. Your short-sightedness or astigmatism prescription may change fast, requiring you to replace your glasses more often. Your contact lenses may no longer fit properly and become uncomfortable.
KERATOCONUS CAN BE A PAINFUL CONDITION LEADING TO EMOTIONAL EXHUASTION
Before corneal cross-linking, patients can feel exhausted by the disease and emotionally spent. Many report it’s an exhausting condition that results in non-stop blurriness and feeling pain when putting in contact lenses.
THE IMPACT OF KERATOCONUS ON YOUR DAILY LIFE CAN BE COLOSSAL
Without the contact lenses that might cause you significant grief, you might be house-bound, unable to work, study, read, play or exercise. Performing the most basic daily living tasks can be difficult. You may feel vulnerable in unfamiliar environments, especially if you have no easy access to safe facilities to clean your lenses.
YOUR KERATOCONUS MAY CHANGE HOW OTHERS SEE YOU
Some patients report that they become quiet, introverted and generally discombobulated if forced to remove their glasses for long-term periods (such as, during a long-haul flight). One of the most frustrating things patients mention is people telling them to wear contact lenses instead of glasses, given they give them so much grief. But without the glasses, they can’t see.
A STABLE EYE IS A GOOD EYE
If you suffer from keratoconus, you’re tired. Unfortunately, many well-meaning GPs and even optometrists are unfamiliar with the latest advances in stabilising and, in some cases, even reversing keratoconus. They might advise you to wait until it worsens to get a corneal transplant. However, when you experience the weight that will lift off your shoulders when your eye becomes stable, you’ll know you’ve made the right decision to have corneal cross-linking.
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Supplementary information about keratoconus
In my expert hands, you certainly don’t need to know all of the information I’ve included in the toggles below. If you’d like to know how it all works, however, open them and learn more.
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About the author
Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon
MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef
I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including stem cell cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.