Keratoconus (KC) is a disorder of the eye which results in progressive thinning of the cornea. This may result in blurry vision, double vision, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and light sensitivity. Usually both eyes are affected. In more severe cases a scarring or a circle may be seen within the cornea.
While the cause is unknown, it is believed to occur due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors.[ About seven percent of those affected have a family history of the condition. Proposed environmental factors include rubbing the eyes and allergies. The underlying mechanism involves changes of the cornea to a cone shape.
Your cornea is the clear, dome-shaped window at the front of your eye. It focuses light into your eye. Keratoconus is when the cornea thins out and bulges like a cone. Changing the shape of the cornea brings light rays out of focus. As a result, your vision is blurry and distorted, making daily tasks like reading or driving difficult.
Keratoconus often affects both eyes, and can lead to very different vision between the two eyes. Symptoms can differ in each eye, and they can change over time.
In the early stage, keratoconus symptoms can include:
- mild blurring of vision
- slightly distorted vision, where straight lines look bent or wavy
- increased sensitivity to light and glare
- eye redness or swelling
In later stages, keratoconus symptoms often include:
- more blurry and distorted vision
- increased nearsightedness or astigmatism (when your eye cannot focus as well as it should). As a result, you may need new eyeglass prescriptions often.
- not being able to wear contact lenses. They may no longer fit properly and they are uncomfortable.
Keratoconus usually takes years to go from early to late stage. For some people, though, keratoconus can get worse quickly. The cornea can swell suddenly and start to scar. When the cornea has scar tissue, it loses its smoothness and becomes less clear. As a result, vision grows even more distorted and blurry.
How do sufferers of this rare disease actually see:
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