The cornea is the clear, anterior most dome-shaped surface of the eye that helps focus light on our central vision area. Keratoconus is a progressive condition that affects the cornea, causing it to thin and bulge into a cone-shape that causes blurred and distorted vision. This condition is hereditary, and it is linked to Down Syndrome and chronic eye rubbing.
Keratoconus often manifest in an individual’s teens or early twenties. It is found in 1 in 1000 people. The earlier the onset of keratoconus, the higher the risk of more severe disease progression. In the early stages of the condition, one’s vision is still correctable with glasses. As the disease progresses, however, the irregularity of the cornea creates irregular astigmatism that is best corrected by hard contact lenses, such as rigid gas permeables or scleral lenses. Such lenses work by creating a smooth and regular surface with the tears that is between the cornea and the lens. In the advanced stages of keratoconus, scarring of the cornea can occur, and corneal transplant may be necessary to restore vision.
Corneal cross linking is a procedure that uses UV light and photosensitizer Riboflavin to strengthen the chemical bonds in the cornea to help retain its proper shape. It can only be done in the earlier stages of keratoconus to decrease the risk of corneal transplant. Hence, it is very important to detect the condition as early as possible.