Your eyes are powerful organs with a lot of parts. They allow you to see in great detail but are particularly susceptible to injury or disease.
The cornea is one of the less complex parts of your eye. But, it faces many potential issues because it is at the front of your eye.
It is the clear tissue covering the front of your eye. But it handles more than just keeping dust, dirt, and other particles from entering your eye.
It is a curved piece of tissue that focuses light on the lens inside your eye. Your lens then further focuses the light onto your retina, which sends it to your brain.
If your cornea does not have the correct curvature, your sight can become unfocused and blurry. This issue can result from a simple refractive error or physical trauma.
It can also result as a complication of certain diseases. One disease in particular that can disfigure the cornea is keratoconus.
Keep reading to learn more about keratoconus and how you can treat it.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus develops as the result of a gradually thinning cornea. As your cornea grows thinner, problems on its surface develop.
Namely, it begins to bulge as the corneal structures become weaker. Corneas that have developed keratoconus can become cone-shaped.
A cone-shaped cornea results in blurry and unfocused vision. Beyond progressively degrading eyesight, keratoconus causes other disruptive symptoms, including:
- Glare around fixed light sources
- Light sensitivity
- Eye pain
- Rapid loss of eyesight
If you begin to experience these symptoms, schedule an appointment to see your eye doctor. The earlier they diagnose a condition like keratoconus, the easier treating it is.
What Causes Keratoconus?
The cause of keratoconus is not well understood. There is likely some genetic component to developing it.
Families with a history of keratoconus and other disorders are more prone to getting it. About ten percent of people with keratoconus also have a parent with it.
A dysfunction in the way your eye produces collagen also contributes to keratoconus. Collagen is a critical component for strengthening the framework of your cornea.
Eyes with keratoconus lack collagen. As a result, cells in the cornea likely get destroyed faster than they get made.
Other factors can contribute to the weakening of the cornea, as well. Chronic inflammation in the eye destroys tissue, and rubbing your eyes can damage it and worsen symptoms.
If you have keratoconus, there is no cure for it. Your best option is to manage and control it as much as possible.
Unfortunately, it is irreversible once it develops, which usually happens during puberty. The good news is that you can manage keratoconus with simple, effective treatments.
Specific contacts can manually flatten the curvature of your cornea. And a treatment called corneal cross-linking strengthens the cornea by stabilizing its structure.
It uses light-activated collagen eye drops to thicken and stiffen the collagen in the eye. This strengthening helps to limit the cone shape and thinning caused by keratoconus.
If the disease becomes too advanced, you may need a full corneal transplant from donor tissue. But this only happens after other treatments get explored, and keratoconus becomes severe.
Keratoconus is an excellent example of why regular eye appointments are crucial. If you can catch it early, you have a good chance of minimizing its damage.
Schedule an appointment at Stahl Eyecare Experts in New York, NY, to ensure your eyes are healthy!