What Causes Keratoconus?
Tiny fibers of protein in the eye called collagen help hold the cornea in place and keep it from bulging. When these fibers become weak, they cannot hold the shape and the cornea becomes progressively more cone shaped.
Keratoconus is caused by a decrease in protective antioxidants in the cornea. The cornea cells produce damaging by-products, like exhaust from a car. Normally, antioxidants get rid of them and protect the collagen fibers. If antioxidants levels are low, the collagen weakens and the cornea bulges outward.
Keratoconus usually starts in the teenage years but can also being in childhood or later on up to the late 20's. It less common to occur in patients 40 years and older.
The changes in the shape of the cornea happen quickly or may occur over several years. The changes can result in blurry vision, glare, and halos around lights.
The changes can stop at any time or they can continue for years. There is no way to predict how it will progress. In most people with keratoconus, both eyes are usually affected.
In severe cases of keratoconus, the stretched collagen fibers can lead to severe scarring or cause corneal tears which can swell and develop into large corneal scars.
Treatments for Keratoconus include the use of rigid gas permeable contact lenses, scleral lenses, and soft contact lenses. Collagen strengthening is also a treatment to help maintain the rigidity of the cornea to hold progression of keratoconus.
Dr Ordonez has been treating Keratoconus patients for many years in Whittier. Please call to schedule your consultation.