Keratoconus, what is this pathology?

Keratoconus is an ocular pathology that specifically affects the cornea. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped membrane that forms the anterior part of the eye, in front of the iris. It is in charge of focusing the light rays for the vision.

It is a progressive disease that alters the shape of the cornea, causing this to change its dome shape to a cone. In addition, the cornea also thins. All this causes the rays to not be able to focus properly and the vision becomes blurred.

Keratoconus is considered a rare disease, since its incidence is low. It is estimated that there are only about 2 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants each year. In addition, many factors influence its development.

However, people who suffer from it are usually teenagers or young adults. It significantly affects your quality of life, since it greatly alters the vision. Therefore, in this article we explain everything you need to know about keratoconus.

What is keratoconus?

As we have already mentioned, the normal cornea is shaped like a dome, and this form is what allows the rays of light to strike correctly on the retina so that the vision process is carried out.

The keratoconus is that the cornea is progressively modified and changes that dome shape, adopting cone shape. It is a non-inflammatory pathology that can appear in one eye or both. The majority of those who suffer from it are teenagers.

These changes in corneal morphology are the cause of the rays not being able to focus well. Due, vision is disturbed and distorted. Both myopia and irregular astigmatism develop:

  • The myopia It is a defect that makes distant objects can not be seen clearly.
  • He astigmatism it is that objects, both distant and near, are perceived as blurry or deformed.

What other symptoms appear with keratoconus?

Many people who suffer from it also suffer an exaggerated sensitivity to light. In the same way, it is typical that they have to change the regulation of the glasses of their glasses frequently. Symptoms usually vary over time.

Other typical symptoms are redness of the eyes and a great discomfort when wearing contact lenses. Normally, the disease takes a long time to progress, so this last symptom is more unlikely.

However, there are cases in which keratoconus is complicated. These people suffer a sudden worsening, which causes the cornea to begin to experience a process of fibrosis or scarring. When this happens, the cornea becomes less transparent and the vision worsens even more.

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What are the causes?

The truth is that it is not known very well what is the mechanism that causes the appearance of keratoconus. However, scientists think that There are many factors involved in its development.

First, it seems that genetics has an important role, since many of the people who suffer from it have a family history of it. It is also associated with syndromes such as Down syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Similarly, factors such as minor trauma to the eye, persistent scratching or irritation of the eyes appear to be related. Even, It seems to be related to continuous exposure to the sun's rays.

How is keratoconus diagnosed and treated?

The diagnosis of keratoconus is relatively simple. Usually, it is enough for the ophthalmologist to perform a complete eye exam. In addition, tests can be used to observe the pathology in more detail.

For example, scaling lamp scans, corneal topographies or keratometries are performed. Keratometry is a test that allows you to measure the curvature of the cornea.

Keratoconus treatment varies by case.. It is the ophthalmologist who must choose which one is the most appropriate for each patient. Many mild cases can be treated simply with contact lenses; more complex ones may require a corneal transplant.

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In conclusion

Keratoconus is a progressive disease that affects the cornea, preventing this approach correctly The rays of light. The vision becomes blurred. It usually affects young people. If in doubt, the ideal is to see a doctor to fully examine our vision.