May 31, 2020

Who Gets Keratoconus and What Can Be Done About It?

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Read the full NZ Herald article here

Keratoconus is an eye condition which affects the cornea and is commonly accepted to be hereditary. When someone has keratoconus, the cornea, which is usually clear and round, can become misshapen and bend light in strange ways. The condition can include blurry vision and heightened sensitivity to light exposure. 


But why do only some people get this condition, and what can be done about it? 


Who is at risk of getting keratoconus?

Keratoconus exists in all types of people. The only common factor between people who have it is usually age—teenagers tend to start to see the signs, which stabilise at around 30 years old. The disease is hereditary; a lot of people who have it may also have parents or grandparents that have dealt with the condition.


Family history is the number one factor for developing the disease. That said, there are a few other factors which could increase the likelihood of keratoconus, particularly the existence of other conditions, including retinitis pigmentosa, hay fever, or even asthma. It’s believed that the connection between these conditions and keratoconus is likely to be excessive rubbing of the eyes. 


Keratoconus treatment

There are many different approaches to keratoconus treatmentThey tend to differ based on the specific circumstances of each patient. If the keratoconus is developing into relatively mild symptoms, then glasses may be all that is required. Many cases of keratoconus do not require major vision correction, but not all cases eventually stabilise. 


Sometimes, the condition continues to worsen, and in these cases, there are a wide range of options. Different kinds of contact lenses can correct keratoconus, such as hard contact lenses, piggyback lenses, hybrid lenses, or scleral lenses. These lenses all operate very differently. For example, hard contact lenses are generally only installed or replaced by a professional, while scleral lenses can be placed on the eyes at home, with a bit of practice.


What about permanent correction?

There are also other procedures that can correct keratoconus, such as corneal crosslinking. Corneal crosslinking is a newer treatment for this condition, although the procedure has existed for at least a decade. 


Corneal crosslinking process involves using Vitamin B2 brief exposure to UV rays to harden the cornea, helping it keep its shape. This is often completed in conjunction with contact lenses, as these can help speed up the healing process, and make recovery more comfortable. This whole process is very quick and has been found to be very effective at stopping the progression of keratoconus in its tracks.


Reach out for expert advice

If you believe you may have keratoconus, and you know it runs in the family, give us a call. We can help you book in a free assessment, and from there, we’ll be able to give you the best plan of action. Call the Re:Vision specialists today for the best eye treatment in Auckland!


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