In a healthy eye, the cornea retains a dome shape. Keratoconus alters the cornea, giving it a conical shape. As a result of the abnormal shape of the cornea, individuals who suffer from keratoconus often develop serious visual distortions that can limit their ability to drive or read. In some cases, people can even develop a sensitivity to light (photophobia).
Diagnosing Keratoconus is somewhat tricky because its symptoms mimic those of astigmatism.
When you arrive for an eye exam, your optometrist will perform a series of physical examinations for the health and function of your eyes as well as complete a detailed family history to include any ophthalmic disorders. Some of the basic testing may include:
Snellen chart - The standard visual acuity chart with progressively smaller letters or shapes
Keratometer - Instrument designed to measure the curvature of the cornea
Retinoscopy - Procedure in which the optometrist uses a focused light beam to test the reflection of the retina
Slit lamp examination - Procedure in which the doctor shines a light into the eye for better visual examination of the eye
Additional testing may also be performed, based on initial findings. A Keratoscope, also known as Placido's disk, may be employed. This is a noninvasive instrument that aids the optometrist in visualizing the cornea's shape by using lighted rings projected onto the cornea.
Corneal topography, a device creates a topographical map of the cornea's shape that can be valuable in determining the degree, or stage, of the keratoconus and monitor any progression, may also be used.
Traditionally, patients’ visual distortions have been treated with the use of hard contact lenses, which also inhibit further changes to the cornea. Advances in contact lens materials have also lead to the development of hybrid lenses created specifically for those with keratoconus. All of these lenses must be fitted by a specialist with knowledge of the challenges associated with the conical shape distinctive of the condition. There are a number of surgical options also available. Surgical solutions are usually reserved for severe cases of keratoconus in which multiple complications have made the preferred contact lens treatments ineffective.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with keratoconus, the doctors at Broome Optical have the experience to treat this disorder.