Keratoconus is an eye disease which results in thinning of the cornea and causes the cornea to bulge forward, becoming cone shaped. This cone shape distorts the light entering the cornea, and keeps the light from forming a clear point of focus on the retina. Keratoconus can also lead to scarring of the cornea.
This disease usually begins in the teen years, then stabilizes during the patientâ€™s 30s or 40s. The cause is yet unknown, but you are more likely to develop keratoconus if you have family members with the disease, if you have had excessive laser eye surgery, or if you have asthma, eczema or allergies.
The use of gas permeable contact lenses are used to treat this disease. The contact lenses focus the light instead of the distorted cone-shaped cornea. Also used as a treatment are intacs prescription inserts. These inserts are used in patients who cannot wear the gas permeable contact lenses, and whose disease has not progressed enough to warrant corneal transplant. For severe cases, corneal transplant surgery is available.
Patients with keratoconus must not have LASIK or PRK eye surgery. Patients with keratoconus have very thin and weak corneas. Having the LASIK surgery further weakens their cornea. Eye rubbing can also cause further weakening and thinning of the cornea in patients with keratoconus.