What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is the most common condition of a group of corneal dystrophies that also includes keratoglobus and pellucid marginal degeneration. It is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea with the thinner area bulging forward, resulting in distorted sight that often cannot be adequately corrected by glasses.
It is estimated that it occurs in 1/2000 people in its more pronounced form, and as possibly as many as 1/200 have a milder, non progressing form. The genetics of keratoconus are obscure but it is thought the chances of a child inheriting keratoconus from a parent with the condition are less than 2%.
Keratoconus becomes apparent between 10 and 25 years of age, and is often associated with ocular allergies especially those involving eye rubbing. Symptoms start with blurred vision that is initially corrected with glasses, and then can progress so that glasses and soft contact lenses no longer provide satisfactory sight. Most people can achieve good sight with a rigid contact lens. 85% of people with keratoconus achieve stable vision by 35 years, with only a small number deteriorating to a state where a corneal graft is necessary. Modern contact lens fitting practices have reduced the number of people requiring grafts.
What are the options for keratoconus treatment for patients on the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads region?
There continual advancements in the methods for fitting contact lenses in keratoconus cases. The use of corneal topography, which is way of getting a computerised image of the shape of the eye helps a great deal. In addition to these advancements, corneal surgeons are able to offer collagen cross-linking.
Collagen cross-linking is a newer medical procedure in Australia for people with progressive keratoconus. It is a special UV laser treatment combined with using riboflavin (B12) strengthens the cornea, thus slowing down the rate of thinning. Harmony Vision can organise referrals to eye specialists with whom we co-manage these cases.