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What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a condition where the cornea (front tissue of the eye) begins to thin and become cone-like instead of maintaining it’s round shape.  This causes distortion in your vision. Most symptoms appear in the late teen years or early twenties and can be different between the eyes. The exact cause is unknown, but has been related to chronic eye rubbing, family history, and associated with some systemic conditions.  In mild cases, correction with glasses can help.  However this is a progressive condition and as the cornea’s shape changes rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, and scleral contact lenses are needed to reach optimal vision correction. (We will talk about scleral contact lenses next time).
 
A new treatment option to halt the progression of keratoconus is corneal cross-linking. It works by increasing the collagen crosslinks within the cornea by strengthening the bonds in the corneal tissue.  This helps to prevent the cornea from becoming increasingly irregular and bulging-out.  But you need to do this early. Candidates should be younger than 35, have a corneal thickness greater than 400 microns, and have keratometry readings less than 56 diopters.  All this can be tested when you come in for your eye exam.
 
In very severe cases, scarring and extreme thinning can occur and may lead to a corneal transplant. If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus it is very important to have regular eye exams to maintain healthy vision.

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