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Can Keratoconus Get Better? - The Eye Foundation

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Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that affects the cornea, causing it to thin and bulge into a cone shape. It can lead to blurred vision, distorted images, and increased sensitivity to light. Many individuals diagnosed with keratoconus wonder if the condition can get better over time. In this article, we will explore the possibilities of keratoconus improvement and the available treatment options. So, let's dive in and find out more.

Understanding Keratoconus

It is a corneal disorder that typically begins during the teenage years or early twenties. It causes the cornea to thin and become more cone-shaped, resulting in visual abnormalities. The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role in its development.

Factors Influencing Keratoconus Progression

Several factors can influence the progression of keratoconus. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition: Having a family history of keratoconus increases the likelihood of developing the condition.
  • Eye rubbing: Frequent and vigorous eye rubbing can contribute to the progression of keratoconus.
  • Allergies: Chronic allergies can cause eye rubbing and irritation, potentially worsening keratoconus.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal imbalances during puberty or pregnancy may affect the cornea's stability and worsen keratoconus.
  • UV exposure: Prolonged exposure to sunlight without proper eye protection can impact the cornea and accelerate the progression of keratoconus.

Can Keratoconus Improve Naturally?

While keratoconus is a progressive condition, some individuals may experience a natural halt or improvement in its progression. However, it is essential to note that the extent of improvement varies from person to person. Factors such as age, severity of the condition, and individual eye health play crucial roles in determining the natural course of keratoconus.

Managing Keratoconus

Fortunately, several treatment options are available to manage keratoconus and improve visual clarity. Let's explore some of these options:

Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses

In the early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be sufficient to correct vision. However, as the condition progresses, specialized contact lenses are often required for better visual acuity.

Custom Soft Contact Lenses

Custom soft contact lenses are designed to fit the irregular shape of the cornea, providing improved vision for individuals with keratoconus. These lenses offer better comfort and stability compared to traditional contact lenses.

Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are another effective option for managing keratoconus. These lenses create a smooth and uniform surface over the cornea, allowing light to enter the eye properly. RGP lenses provide excellent visual acuity and help reshape the cornea over time.

Hybrid Contact Lenses

Hybrid contact lenses offer a unique combination of the advantages provided by both rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses and soft contact lenses. These lenses feature a rigid center that ensures clear vision and a soft outer ring for enhanced comfort. Hybrid lenses are specifically designed to meet the needs of individuals with moderate to severe keratoconus, providing them with optimal vision correction and wearing comfort.

Scleral Contact Lenses

Scleral lenses are larger in diameter and vault over the cornea, resting on the white part of the eye (sclera). They provide visual improvement by creating a new refractive surface and ensuring a stable fit. Scleral lenses are highly effective for advanced keratoconus cases.

Corneal Cross-Linking

Corneal cross-linking (CXL) is a minimally invasive procedure designed to strengthen the cornea and prevent the advancement of keratoconus. This treatment involves applying riboflavin eye drops onto the cornea, followed by exposure to ultraviolet light. By initiating a chemical reaction, CXL promotes the formation of new collagen bonds within the cornea, resulting in increased stability. CXL has demonstrated encouraging outcomes in stabilizing the progression of keratoconus and preserving visual function.

Intacs

Intacs are small, clear, crescent-shaped inserts that are surgically placed within the cornea. They help flatten the cornea, reducing the cone shape and improving visual acuity. Intacs are an option for individuals who are unable to tolerate contact lenses or are not suitable candidates for corneal transplantation.

Corneal Transplantation

In severe cases of keratoconus where other treatments are ineffective, corneal transplantation may be necessary. During this procedure, the damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea. Corneal transplantation has a high success rate and can significantly improve vision for individuals with advanced keratoconus.

Seeking Professional Help

If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus or suspect you may have the condition, it is crucial to seek professional help from an experienced ophthalmologist or optometrist. They can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your eyes and recommend the most suitable treatment options based on your specific needs.

Lifestyle Modifications for Keratoconus Management

In addition to professional treatment, certain lifestyle modifications can contribute to the management of keratoconus. These include:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes: Minimize the habit of rubbing your eyes, as it can aggravate keratoconus.
  • Protecting your eyes: Wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.
  • Managing allergies: Take steps to manage allergies effectively and minimize eye irritation.
  • Regular eye check-ups: Schedule regular eye examinations to monitor the progression of keratoconus and adjust treatment accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Can keratoconus be cured?

Keratoconus cannot be cured, but its progression can be managed with appropriate treatment.

  • Are contact lenses the only treatment option for keratoconus?

No, contact lenses are one of the treatment options, but other interventions like corneal cross-linking and corneal transplantation can also be considered depending on the severity of the condition.

  • What treatment options are available at The Eye Foundation?

The Eye Foundation offers advanced treatment options for Keratoconus management, including corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL), Intacs (corneal implants), and specialty contact lenses.

  • Can keratoconus cause blindness?

In most cases, keratoconus does not lead to complete blindness. However, it can significantly impair vision if left untreated.

  • Can keratoconus affect both eyes?

Yes, keratoconus typically affects both eyes, although the severity may vary between the two.

  • How do I get started with treatment at your hospital?

 Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment with our expert doctors at the  The Eye Foundation for a personalized report and treatment plan. 

 

 

 

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