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Keratoconus Treatment in Brisbane, Booval, Wynnum, & Aspley

Your cornea — the transparent outer covering of your eye — is one of the most important components of your visual system. It is responsible for bending, or refracting, light entering your eye onto your retina. Keratoconus is a condition characterized by the thinning and bulging of the cornea. This abnormality interferes with incoming light and causes increasingly blurry, distorted vision.

If you have developed keratoconus or another corneal disorder, you need a knowledgeable, experienced eye doctor to manage it. The team of doctors at The Eye Health Centre has helped many individuals just like you monitor the disease and undergo treatment when necessary.

Understanding Keratoconus

To function properly, the cornea needs to have a round shape, similar to a basketball. Instead of maintaining a healthy round shape, a cornea with keratoconus thins and bulges into a more cone-like shape.

We do not completely understand what causes keratoconus. Some doctors believe there may be a genetic component, and if you have a parent with keratoconus, you are more likely to get it yourself. Other factors that have been linked to keratoconus include overexposure to sunlight; frequent, vigorous eye rubbing; and chronic eye irritation.

Symptoms

Every case of keratoconus is unique. Symptoms include the following:

  • Blurry or distorted vision at any distance
  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Glare
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Halos or streaks around bright lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact prescription

Other Ectasia

Terrien’s Marginal Degeneration

Terrien’s Marginal Degeneration is a progressive and degenerative thinning of the cornea, usually in the superior (upper) margin of the cornea. It is more commonly seen in males over the age of 40. As the condition progresses, the corneal thinning can extend the entire circumference of the cornea. It can be inflammatory in nature, with neovascularisation (blood vessel growth), lipid deposits and corneal scarring commonly seen.

Pellucid Marginal Degeneration

Pellucid Marginal Degeneration is a progressive, degenerative, noninflammatory corneal condition. It is commonly confused with Keratoconus as it also results in thinning of the cornea, however the area of thinning is typically localised to the inferior (lower) and peripheral cornea. Like Keratoconus, patient’s often present with irregular astigmatism, and vision that can no longer be adequately corrected in glasses or contact lenses.

Keratoconus Diagnosis

Keratoconus is diagnosed with a comprehensive eye exam and a discussion of your history of symptoms. We will carefully analyze the surface and characteristics of your cornea using advanced diagnostic technology. We will also take precise measurements of your cornea to get a baseline idea of its shape, and continue to take annual measurements to detect and track changes.

Treatment Options

Glasses and Contact Lenses

Keratoconus Diagnosis & Treatment in Brisbane, Booval, Wynnum, & AspleyIn the early stages of keratoconus, glasses and contact lenses usually provide the vision correction needed. Special contact lenses are required for keratoconus; the lenses are specifically designed for the large areas of distorted cornea.

Corneal Crosslinking

Corneal crosslinking is a revolutionary procedure that shows promise for delaying or arresting the progression of keratoconus. A combination of riboflavin (vitamin B12) drops and ultraviolet light is used to strengthen the collagen fibers inside the eye. This helps stabilize and strengthen the cornea, slowing down the bulging. Although corneal crosslinking cannot restore any vision that has been lost to keratoconus, it can delay or prevent future vision loss.

Corneal Transplant

In the most severe cases of keratoconus — when glasses or contact lenses can no longer correct vision — corneal transplant may be the best solution. During the transplant, the thinning, distorted corneal tissue is removed and replaced with healthy donor tissue. Surgery is reserved for rare cases, and the results are usually excellent.

Keratoconus Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have LASIK if I have keratoconus?

No, keratoconus is a contraindication for LASIK. There is a risk that removing corneal tissue during LASIK or other forms of laser eye surgery may make an already-degenerating cornea more unstable.

Can keratoconus cause blindness?

Keratoconus normally does not cause complete blindness. However, if left untreated, vision can significantly deteriorate to the point that it becomes difficult to read, drive or perform other daily tasks.

Can keratoconus cause dry eye?

Keratoconus may lead to dry eye symptoms. When the cornea is irregularly shaped, the tear film may not be able to spread evenly over the ocular surface, and the eyes can become dry, itchy or irritated. Wearing contact lenses for keratoconus can also increase the likelihood of developing dry eye symptoms.

If one of my parents has keratoconus, am I at a higher risk?

Doctors are still learning about why keratoconus develops and the factors that make someone more likely to get the disease.

It seems that keratoconus may run in some families. If one of your parents or siblings has keratoconus, you are at a greater risk for getting it.

Also, if you have atopy or chronic hay fever or eczema, you are at an increased risk of developing keratoconus.

What will my vision look like if I get keratoconus?

The abnormal shape of the cornea can lead to significantly distorted vision (similar to what you would see if you looked in a carnival funhouse mirror). You may develop nearsightedness or see double or triple “ghost” images, glare or streaks when looking at bright lights.

In most cases of keratoconus, both eyes are affected — however, each eye may be affected in different ways.

Can keratoconus make it hard to see when driving at night?

Yes. The effects of keratoconus can cause you to see starbursts, glare or halos around bright lights. At night, these visual aberrations may make it nearly impossible to see your dashboard, the road, road signs and oncoming headlights.

Will keratoconus go away on its own?

No. Although the severity of the disease varies by patient, keratoconus is a chronic, degenerative condition that will not improve without treatment.

If you have recently been diagnosed with keratoconus, our doctors encourage you to promptly schedule a consultation to discuss your treatment options.

How is corneal crosslinking performed?

Corneal crosslinking is an outpatient procedure that takes about one hour to complete. First, riboflavin (vitamin B12) drops are administered to the eyes. Then, the eyes are exposed to ultraviolet light. This creates a chemical reaction that strengthens the collagen fibers in the cornea, thereby improving the cornea’s stability.

The procedure has a high success rate. Undergoing corneal crosslinking can stop the progression of vision loss to keratoconus and prevent the need for more invasive treatment (e.g., corneal transplant surgery).

If glasses no longer provide suitable vision correction after corneal crosslinking, our team can explore other options, such as implantable contact lenses or specialty contact lenses.

Learn More About Keratoconus

If you have recently been diagnosed with keratoconus or are experiencing visual symptoms that could suggest a problem with your cornea, The Eye Health Centre can help. Call or email our practice today to request a consultation. We have four office locations conveniently located in Brisbane, Booval, Aspley and Wynnum.