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Keratoconus changes the vision in two ways:

  • The smooth surface over the eye becomes wavy as the cornea changes shape. This is known as irregular astigmatism.
  • Vision becomes more nearsighted as the front of the cornea is expanded and distant objects may become blurry.

Symptoms for keratoconus include the following:

  • A sudden change in one or both eyes
  • Double vision or “ghost images”
  • Distorted vision with objects both near and far
  • Lights appear to have halos or streaks 
  • Glasses prescription that is consistently changing but is never clear

Keratoconus affects the cornea, which is the transparent outer layer of the eye that is used to see through. Keratoconus is caused by a decrease in protective antioxidants in the cornea. If the antioxidant levels are low, collagen weakens and the cornea protrudes. Normally, the cornea has a dome shape and is round like a ball. Sometimes, however, the structure of the cornea is not strong enough to hold this round shape and the cornea bulges outward. Small protein fibers in the eye called collagen help to keep the cornea stable. When these fibers become weak, they can not maintain the shape and the cornea becomes increasingly more “cone” shaped.

Keratoconus usually begins in adolescence and seems to be genetic. The cornea can change shape relatively quickly or may progress over several years. These changes can lead to blurred vision and/or a constant glare. Changes can also stop quickly or continue for decades. There is no way to predict how the condition will progress. In most cases, both eyes are eventually affected, although not always to the same extent.

The best vision correction for keratoconus patients will be through scleral contact lenses. There are also procedures such as corneal crosslinking that can be done to prevent the progression of the disease. 

Vision correction laser surgery –LASIK – is dangerous for people with keratoconus, as it may further weaken the cornea and make the vision worse. Anyone with even a small degree of keratoconus should not have LASIK surgery. Contact Twenty Twenty Eyecare – your Tulsa Optometrist – to schedule your eye exam today!