What Is Keratoconus and How Does It Affect the Cornea?

The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped window at the front of your eye that focuses light so you can see clearly. In individuals with keratoconus, a progressive eye disease, the cornea becomes abnormally thin over time, causing it to bulge into a cone shape. As keratoconus advances, patients can experience blurred vision, astigmatism, nearsightedness, and eyes sensitive to light.

The board-certified ophthalmologists at Focal Point Vision specialize in diagnosing and treating corneal disorders and offer several keratoconus treatment options to improve your vision. It’s important to have your eyes checked during regular eye exams, regardless of whether or not you have noticed any vision irregularities. So, be sure to schedule your comprehensive eye exam in San Antonio, TX.

How does keratoconus affect vision?

Keratoconus leads to gradually worsening vision, typically becoming noticeable for patients during their teenage years or in their early 20s. The symptoms tend to progress for about 10 – 20 years before eventually leveling off. Common keratoconus symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Frequently changing eyeglasses prescription

  • Nearsightedness (myopia)

  • Double vision (diplopia)

  • Astigmatism

If you are experiencing vision problems, it is a good idea to have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist so you can get back to maintaining your best vision and eye health.

Keratoconus causes

Experts still do not know the exact cause of keratoconus, but some of the most likely causes include:

  • Lack of structural stability in the cornea: Some patients are genetically predisposed to having a cornea that becomes more flexible over time.

  • Corneal injuries: Over time, excessive eye rubbing or wearing improperly fitted contacts can damage the shape of the cornea.

  • Certain medical conditions: Individuals who have conditions such as Down syndrome, hay fever, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, asthma, retinitis pigmentosa, and allergies may be at increased risk for keratoconus.

  • Environmental factors: Extended time in the sun and exposure to chemicals are said to be possible causes of keratoconus.

Keratoconus treatment

Our doctors offer several advanced corneal reshaping treatments for keratoconus based on your degree of corneal thinning and vision impairment. The goal is to improve your vision so you can see clearly again.

  • Corneal cross-linking: This outpatient procedure involves administering Vitamin B2 drops before exposing your eyes to UV light, which strengthens the cornea. As the cornea becomes flatter, the progression of keratoconus is halted.

  • Intacs® corneal implant: Tiny devices are placed into the eye to help the cornea establish a more normal shape, which helps improve your vision.

  • Corneal transplant: Traditional corneal transplant surgery replaces either the partial or full corneal thickness with healthy donor tissue.

Schedule a vision exam in San Antonio, TX

Your eyesight is precious, so it's smart to prioritize getting regular eye exams to preserve your vision and eye health. If you have noticed blurry vision or other signs of keratoconus, reach out to Focal Point Vision to schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Keratoconus can cause significant vision impairment if left untreated, but the good news is that after a proper diagnosis, our team of specialists can provide the correct treatment to help you see clearly once again. Schedule a consultation today at our office in San Antonio, TX.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.