Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that causes a thinning of the clear front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. This thinning causes the normally round cornea to bulge into a cone-like shape that can dramatically impact vision.
Normal Cornea: Round in shape.
Keratoconus: Cornea bulges into a cone-like shape causing distorted and blurred vision.
Symptoms of Keratoconus
Keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes and often begins during a person’s teens or early 20s. It can often be difficult to detect, because it usually develops slowly. Symptoms include:
- Distorted and blurred vision
- Progressive nearsightedness
- Irregular astigmatism
- Glare and light sensitivity
Possible Causes of Keratoconus
New research suggests that an imbalance of enzymes within the cornea can cause the weakening of the corneal tissue that leads to keratoconus. Risk factors for this imbalance include:
- A genetic predisposition
- Overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun
- Excessive eye rubbing
- A history of poorly fitted contact lenses
- Chronic eye irritation
Treatment of Keratoconus
Several treatment options exist for keratoconus, including:
Curt Schlosser’s Story
As a young man, Curt was diagnosed with keratoconus, a degenerative disease that causes the cornea of the eye to thin and bulge. Over the years, Curt has received a total of four corneal transplants, including one in 2013, which was performed by Medical Eye Center corneal specialists Drs. Matt Oliva and John Welling.
“I cannot imagine how radically my life would be different if I lost my vision after having such a great life with vision,” says Curt. “My vision is my most valuable sense, I guess because it has been threatened. That’s why I want to help others see through the hands of Drs. Welling and Oliva.”
Visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s webpage on keratoconus.