The cornea is the clear structure covering the outer part of your eye. It’s normally shaped like a ball or a dome. However, structural problems may cause it to bulge outward and form into a cone – a condition known as keratoconus.
Here’s what your eye doctor wants you to know about this eye problem.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Your corneal cells normally produce by-products that are damaging to your eyes. Antioxidants in your eyes filter these by-products, maintaining your eye health. However, when the antioxidant levels in your eyes are low, they cannot effectively protect your eyes. In particular, they may cause weakening of collagen, which are tiny fibers of protein that help keep your cornea in place. As a result, your cornea loses its shape and bulges out, assuming a cone-like form.
Apart from low antioxidant levels in your eyes, chronic eye rubbing and certain allergic conditions may also lead to keratoconus. This eye problem also runs in families. So, if you have relatives who have keratoconus, you’re at a higher risk of developing it, too. Make sure to get a regular eye exam to ensure the early detection of this condition.
Keratoconus can cause glare and blurred vision. You may also see streaking of light and halos, especially at night. These vision changes may stop at any time, or they may continue and progress over time. When keratoconus worsens, the stretched collagen fibers may cause severe scarring. This may result in tearing of your cornea.
With the changes in your cornea, your eye care specialist may recommend wearing eyeglasses to help focus the light rays that enter your eyes. Rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses are also a good option. For more severe cases, we may suggest surgery, where implants will be placed under your cornea. If your eyesight still doesn’t improve, corneal transplant may be needed.
To learn more about keratoconus, call us at (336) 387-6777, or complete our form. We serve Greensboro and nearby North Carolina areas.