Keratoconus (from Greek: kerato- horn, cornea; and konos cone) is a degenerative disorder of the eye in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve.
Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision, christmas tree appearance to lights at night, with multiple images, streaking and sensitivity to light all often reported by the patient. It is typically diagnosed in the patient’s adolescent years and attains its most severe state between the ages of 20 and 40. It can progress at any age including people in their 50’s and 60’s. If afflicting both eyes, the deterioration in vision can affect the patient’s ability to drive a car or read normal print.
In most cases, corrective lenses fitted by a contact lens specialist are effective enough to allow the patient to continue to drive legally and likewise function normally. Further progression of the disease may require surgery, for which several options are available, including cross-linking, intrastromal segment rings(intacs), mini asymmetric radial keratotomy and, in 25% of cases, corneal transplantation.
Keratoconus affects around one person in 400. It seems to occur in populations throughout the world, although it is observed more frequently in certain ethnic groups, such as blacks and Indians. Environmental and genetic factors are considered possible causes, but the exact cause is uncertain. The frequency of keratoconus in first degree relatives is much higher than in the general population. It has been associated with detrimental enzyme activity within the cornea, and is more common in patients with Down Syndrome.
Good news is that keratoconus is not often passed to children. .If you have children in the future its only a 20% chance that your children will inherit keratoconus. It makes sense to have your children undergo a baseline topography scan at age 8-10 years and yearly after that. The subsequent scans will be compared to the first one to catch keartoconus early if it is going to be developing. Its also important for your siblings to have their eye checked, especially the ones wearing glasses.
Call us on 0113465025 or 0815455385. Safesight Cataract & Eye Laser centre,13 Scott Street, Waverley, Johannesburg