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Untreated Keratoconus Can Lead to Permanent Vision Loss

Untreated Keratoconus Can Lead to Permanent Vision Loss

It’s hard to put into words how much we use our vision every day, as seeing the world around us is so crucial to how we interact with it. Think of your eye like a camera: it helps you gauge distances and closely examine objects. Unlike a camera, you have two eyes that provide a combined image allowing you to perceive depth. 

Your eyelids act as a shutter to protect your eyes from external threats and help keep them moist. Your cornea acts as a filter of light for the lens and retina, and the pupil controls the light to a camera by determining how much light passes through.

Unfortunately, several conditions can make it harder to see and interact with the world. Keratoconus, in particular, is a condition that can distort vision over time and left untreated can cause long-term vision loss. To better understand the effects it has on your eyes, let’s examine this condition, its symptoms and causes, and how we treat it.

If you live in the Pelham Gardens area of the Bronx, New York, and you’re having vision problems like keratoconus, the extensive team of doctors at Bronx Eye Associates can help you see better.

Understanding keratoconus

Keratoconus affects a specific part of your eye’s light filter, the cornea. Under normal circumstances, your cornea has a clear, round shape like a see-through ball. This makes the way your eyes take in light possible and allows for good vision. Keratoconus can alter the curvature from a round ball to something similar to a cone.

As the eye changes with this illness, you can develop irregular astigmatism. As it worsens, you become more and more nearsighted and need new prescriptions for eyewear frequently. If you don’t get the condition treated, the changes it makes to the cornea can cause it to swell and scar, leading to an advanced type of this illness where the scarring can become permanent.

Symptoms and causes

Signs of this condition vary depending on its severity and include distorted vision, blurred vision, an increase in sensitivity to bright lights and glares, difficulty with night driving, sudden clouding of vision, and frequent changes in your vision. Double vision when looking with one eye is also possible, along with bright lights having halos around them.

The overall cause of keratoconus is still not known, though environmental and genetic factors are suspected as at least part of the cause. Risk factors include rubbing your eyes vigorously, a family history of the illness, or other conditions like retinitis pigmentosa, hay fever, asthma, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Down syndrome.

Methods of treatment

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your keratoconus. Mild to moderate cases can be managed by prescription glasses or contact lenses, including specialty lens options like hybrid or scleral lenses. 

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a method that can help stabilize the cornea by using ultraviolet (UV) light and medication from eye drops to strengthen the collagen fibers in your cornea. For more severe cases, surgeries are available, such as intracorneal ring segments and corneal transplant or keratoplasty.

Keratoconus can severely hinder your vision, but regardless of how severe it may be, we can help. Make an appointment with the team at Bronx Eye Associates today to stop this condition from worsening.

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