What is Keratoconus?

Our goal is to provide comprehensive eye care to everyone who comes to see us. One of the common conditions that we treat involves the cornea. As cornea specialists in Arizona, we want to make sure that everyone has optimized cornea function. One of the conditions that might impact the cornea is called keratoconus. There are a few key points that everyone should keep in mind.

First, it is important for everyone to note that keratoconus is a common condition that can impact the cornea. In this condition, the cornea starts to become thin. Over time, it becomes so thin that it starts to protrude from the eye. This leads to a very abnormal shape that makes it almost impossible for the eye to focus light in a proper manner. As a result, people with keratoconus start to have trouble seeing. 

The most common age at which keratoconus presents is during the teenage years or early 20s. While the condition likely starts much sooner than this, this is when symptoms start to show up.

Happy eye care patient blowing bubble with chewing gum Woman blowing bubble: eye care patient

What are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

This is a condition that is usually found in younger people. In the early stages, people with keratoconus will not show any symptoms at all. By the time people reach their teens or early 20s, the symptoms start to show up. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • The development of halos or ghosts in the eyes
  • Problems driving at night
  • A prescription that seems to keep changing
  • Eye pain and strain after being awake for several hours
  • The development of headaches
  • Problems with irritation with itching of the eyes

While keratoconus can present in a number of different ways, these are the most common symptoms.

How is Keratoconus Diagnosed?

When someone shows up with symptoms of keratoconus, it is important to make a diagnosis quickly. Usually, patients present with the symptoms above. This prompts the eye doctor to do an in-depth eye exam that measures the curvature of the cornea. This is where the diagnosis of keratoconus comes from. Signs of thinning and stress lines are seen during the exam and lead to the diagnosis.

Eye care patient: Keratoconus Keratoconus patient enjoying time with friends

How is Keratoconus Treated?

Once someone has been diagnosed with keratoconus, the treatment process can begin. Usually, this starts with specialized glasses and contacts that have been designed to slow the process. Eventually, this will not be enough to keep keratoconus at bay. Once this point is reached, surgical options are available including corneal cross-linking and even a corneal transplant.

Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that combines specialty formulated eye drops and UV light to stiffen and strengthen the corneas. This treatment can help prevent the need for a corneal transplant someday. In the most severe cases, a corneal transplant is necessary and generally very successful.

To learn more, schedule your consultation appointment with Swagel Wootton Eye Institute here.

What If I Have Keratoconus?

This is a serious condition and it needs to be treated properly to preserve someone’s vision. That is where we can help. We have some of the best eye doctors in Arizona and we have a lot of experience dealing with keratoconus. We offer free consultations, so we encourage everyone to come in for a complete exam. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our team. If you have keratoconus, we can help you treat this condition.


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