What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a corneal condition where the cornea becomes irregular in shape. As an analogy a perfect corneal surface is spherical (round) like a soccer ball. Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea is more curved in one meridian than the other and can be thought of being shaped like a rugby ball. Keratoconus is an extreme form of astigmatism (irregular astigmatism) where the astigmatism is no longer symmetrical. This creates a blurred image on the retina and the degree of blur is proportional to the degree of irregular astigmatism. While patients can have a genetic predisposition to the disease it is often sporadic in nature. Eye rubbing, especially in atopic individuals, is a definite risk factor for the disease and also risk factor for progression of disease.
How does Keratoconus present?
It usually presents itself in the mid-teens to early 20’s, though the age of presentation can vary from early child hood to mid adolescence, depending on the severity of the disease. A proportion of patients have subclinical Keratoconus throughout their life (Forme Fruste Keratoconus) and is only detected when they present for laser refractive surgery or cataract surgery.
The main symptom is blurred vision that is difficult to correct with glasses. When the disease is more advanced the degree of corneal ectasia can be severe enough to rupture descemets membrane leading to acute swelling of the cornea (corneal hydrops). This is manifest as discomfort and a white cloudy discoloration in the cornea in keeping with corneal oedema. It should be differentiated from a corneal infection which will usually be accompanied by a red eye and photophobia. It will resolve spontaneously but is often a sign that corneal transplantation is warranted for the patient.
Diagnosis of Keratoconus is best achieved by computerised corneal topographical analysis. This aids diagnosis and quantifies the severity of disease.
At HLV we offer this service to any patients with or suspected of having this disease.
Since our inception in 1998 Hunter Laser Vision has seen many patients suffering with Keratoconus. Some referred by their Optometrist and a surprising number who had no idea about their condition; initially consulting us about laser refractive surgery.
For the past 10 years we are pleased to say we have been able to help many Keratoconic patients achieve stability of their condition by treating them with ultraviolet light corneal collagen cross linking. UVL is best performed before the Keratoconus has become advanced and there is loss of best corrected vision. Our aim is to promote awareness so this serious and often debilitating condition can be controlled at an early stage. As there is no cure, early diagnosis is the key.
Other surgical options can sometimes be helpful and they are Keraring implantation (to flatten the steep meridian) or for a very limited group of patients (cross linked previously with stable refraction and stable Keratometry readings), a refractive laser option.
The Keratoconus component of the seminar will address the following:
– What is keratoconus
– Who gets keratoconus
– Signs & symptoms
– Managing keratoconus
– How is keratoconus treated
– Surgical treatment options
We will be discussing treatment options on the day but all patients will be directed back to their Optometrist for further consultation. We will NOT be performing any testing on this day.
It is our hope your patients will take this opportunity to learn more about their condition. This presentation is intended for patients and their families.
Call us on 1800 44 20 20 if you would like to book a seat at this seminar, or register online here.