Tips to Manage Your Keratoconus

Keratoconus of eye, 4th degree. Contortion of the cornea in the form of a cone, deterioration of vision, astigmatism.

If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, there may be a million questions you probably still have unanswered. What’s vital is that you prevent your condition from getting worse. The best way to do so is by listening to your eye specialist and ensure that you heed their advice. 

What is Keratoconus (KC)?

KC is an eye disease mainly affecting the cornea of the eye. It is a thinning disorder of the cornea which leads to an abnormal bulging of the cornea. As the cornea progressively thins, the patient will notice an increase in their shortsightedness and astigmatism. This can worsen over time as you age. 

What happens when a diagnosis takes place?

At your eye exam, your doctor will test the severity of the KC. If it is already progressing, the best way forward is to doctor stop the progression. This is usually done by treatments known as cross-linking, which is minimally invasive and effective in preventing or delaying the spread of KC. If KC is advanced, the ophthalmologist may propose corneal transplantation. 

Tips to manage KC

  • Speak to an eye specialist. There are several eye doctors out there, but before you book an appointment, make sure you choose an ophthalmic doctor specialising in keratoconus treatment. An eye specialist will give you a proper diagnosis and the best care for your eyes. They will also discuss the different treatment options available to you, and which would be the best way to go. Choosing a doctor who understands your condition and its severity will give you peace of mind that you are in good hands. Trust your doctor. 
  • Consider wearing prescription glasses or soft contact lenses. Glasses or soft contact lenses can correct blurry or distorted vision in early keratoconus. But people frequently need to change their prescription for eyeglasses or contacts as the shape of their corneas change.
  • Enrol in a support group. If, after an eye test, your doctor confirms that you have KC, you may not understand what this means immediately. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed and confused, consider joining a support group where you get to interact with people who have lived with KC for several years. They may provide you with first-hand details about how they have managed. Support groups are great for family members too who want to learn about KC and attend meetings with you. KC can be stressful, but it can also be managed and stopped.

What are the treatment options for Keratoconus?

Once the KC has stabilised, there are therapeutic options to improve vision, and these include: Spectacles, Contact lenses, Intra corneal Ring Segmants, Implantable Collamer lens and therapeutic PRK. KC progression can be successfully stopped with a procedure called Corneal Collagen Cross Linking (CXL). CXL is a safe and effective treatment in stabilising KC.  

Another treatment method to consider is Intracorneal Ring Segments implantation (ICRS). This is usually proposed if the patient has an irregular cornea which can cause you to continue to suffer from poor vision after CXL. If you are contact lens intolerant after the treatment or have had previous corneal transplants, ICRS would also be considered. This is a safe and reversible procedure.

You may need surgery if you find that you still have poor vision after wearing the strongest prescription lenses, or if you have corneal scarring or extreme thinning of your cornea, then surgery may be recommended.