The cornea acts as both a protective layer and an outer lens, refracting light as it enters the eye in order to focus it. Somewhere between 1 in 500 and 1 in 2,000 people are affected by keratoconus each year, a corneal disorder that causes a host of vision problems. While keratoconus is less common than glaucoma and cataracts, it's something everyone should be familiar with, especially those who already have impaired vision. Fortunately, routine treatment from an ophthalmologist such as Dr. John DeCarlo at DeCarlo Eye Center is typically all that's required to manage keratoconus.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye disorder that changes the cornea's structure, causing thinning. Severely thinned corneas also bulge outward into a conical shape. Because of the changed shape, light entering the eyes is unfocused, resulting in blurred vision, light sensitivity, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and more.
Causes and Symptoms of Keratoconus
There are no known causes of keratoconus, although it appears to be genetic in approximately one out of every 10 people. It most often presents in people in their late teens and early 20s and is frequently associated with excessive eye rubbing, eye allergies, and connective tissue disorders including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Keratoconus can affect each eye in drastically different ways. While it typically affects both eyes, symptoms can be much milder in one eye. Symptoms of keratoconus also can, and often do, get progressively worse over a period of 10-20 years.
- Slightly distorted or blurry vision, straight lines seeming wavy
- Sudden or increased sensitivity to light
- Redness or swelling in one or both eyes
- Astigmatism or near-sightedness becoming worse
- Inability to wear contact lenses because of discomfort or improper fit
Treatment at DeCarlo Eye Center
An ophthalmologist often diagnoses keratoconus during a routine eye exam. However, if you are experiencing eye problems that you suspect may be keratoconus, don't wait until your next scheduled eye appointment. While it takes years for keratoconus to significantly worsen in most people, the condition can progress quickly, which can lead to scarring of the cornea and exacerbated vision problems.
DeCarlo Eye Center in Wauwatosa, WI, specializes in treating keratoconus. In many cases, that involves simply wearing eyeglasses or special contact lenses. For routine and emergency eye care needs, including surgery, in and around Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Elm Grove, and Milwaukee, contact us or call us at (414) 476-5120. We can help you see things more clearly.