Keratoconus occurs when your cornea — the clear, dome-shaped front surface of your eye — thins and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape due to excessive softening/stretching of the tissue.
This can cause blurred vision, and eventually blindness. Signs and symptoms of keratoconus may change as the disease progresses. They include:
In advanced keratoconus, your cornea may become scarred. A scarred cornea causes worsening vision problems and may require corneal transplant surgery.
Early diagnosis and ophthalmic treatment can halt progression of the disease and preserve vision. Do not hesitate in obtaining an examination for keratoconus. The latest technology is available to detect and monitor early keratoconus.
Treatment for keratoconus depends on the severity of your condition and how quickly the condition is progressing. If your keratoconus is progressive (worsening) you will need collagen crosslinking to halt the disease and possibly prevent blindness. You will then be referred for contact lenses or spectacles as necessary.
In some people with keratoconus, however, the cornea becomes scarred or wearing contact lenses becomes difficult. In these cases, surgery might be necessary.
You may need a corneal transplant if you have corneal scarring, extreme thinning of your cornea, poor vision with the strongest prescription lenses, or if you can’t wear any type of contact lenses. Several surgeries are available, depending on the location of the bulging cone and the severity of your condition.
Play an active role in planning your treatment. Dr Ballim has a special interest in Keratoconus and plays an active sessional role in a specialist Keratoconus clinic that he began in 2011.