CORNEA – KERATOCONUS

The Cornea Specialist team is trained to deliver world-class care for a variety of disorders such as corneal ectasias, infections, trauma, tear film disorders, corneal dystrophy and other degenerative disorders. The department works in close coordination with Sankara Eye Bank for immediate and effective corneal transplant

Keratoconus actually means “cone-shaped cornea.” Keratoconus is defined as uncommon eye condition in which normally dome shape cornea thins and bulges outward like a cone. Cornea, the most vital part of eye is located in the central part of the front surface of the eye. Light penetrates into the eye through cornea, which focuses the light rays, help us to see clearly. But due to Keratoconus, the structure of the cornea becomes like cone, resulting in distorted vision. Keratoconus affects many day to day activities like watching television, driving, typing on a comp

WHAT CAUSES KERATOCONUS

The exact cause of Keratoconus is debatable. Several theories are built on research and its alliance with other circumstances. But none of the theories explain it all and it may be caused by a combination of several different insults to the cornea.

However new research proposes that Keratoconus may occurs due to an imbalance of enzymes within the cornea. Due to this imbalance cornea becomes more susceptible to oxidative destruction from compound named as free radicals, causing it to weaken and bulge forward. It is also believed that the environmental, genetics and the endocrine system are involved in the occurrence of Keratoconus.

Keratoconus is also related with eye injuries such as excessive eye rubbing, history of wearing hard contact lenses, eye diseases like Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis, Retinitis Pigmentosa Retinopathy of Prematurity, Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis etc. Systemic diseases such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Down Syndrome, and Osteogenesis Imperfecta and overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

IMPACT OF VISION LOSS

The various symptoms of Keratoconus usually begin in late teenage or early 20s, but can start at any point of time. Generally, both the eyes get affected by Keratoconus but its extent and hence symptoms, may differ in each eye. Blurred vision and regular changes in eye glass power are the initials symptoms of Keratoconus. Other signs of Keratoconus include:

  • Distortion of vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficultly in driving at night
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches and general eye pain
  • Glare
  • Excessive eye rubbing

TREATMENT

The treatment of Keratoconus depends on the severity of the Keratoconus signs. In early levels, eyesight can be improved with the use of eyeglasses. If eyeglasses fail to deliver adequate vision then Contact lenses may be suggested to wear so that light penetrating the eye is evenly refracted & eyesight is not distorted. In mild cases, new eyeglasses generally make eyesight good again. People suffering from Keratoconus should also refrain his/her eyes from rubbing as it can aggravate thinning of corneal tissue and make conditions worse.

Contact lenses can be soft, rigid or scleral lenses. Depending on the extent of keratoconus, your doctor may recommend you appropriate lenses. Keratoconus may be treated by Intacs, small curved implantable corneal devices, which can restructure the cornea. Intacs are FDA approved and can help flatten the steep cornea found in Keratoconus.

Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) is a technique wherein ultraviolet (UV) light is used to strengthen a keratoconic eye with the help of riboflavin. The procedure may take a maximum of 30 minutes and fairly comfortable to undergo. After the procedure you may be given appropriate medication and asked to come for follow up. However, this procedure only helps in preventing further weakening of your cornea, but does not reverse it.

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