WHAT IS KERATOCONUS?
We see through the cornea, which is the clear outer lens or "windshield" of the eye. Normally, the cornea has a dome shape, like a ball. Sometimes, however, the structure of the cornea is just not strong enough to hold this round shape and the cornea bulges outward and downward like a cone. This condition is called keratoconus.
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 antioxidant levels are low, the collagen weakens and the cornea bulges out. The changes in the shape of the cornea can happen quickly or may occur over several years. The changes can result in blurred vision, glare and halos at night, and the streaking of lights.
Treatment usually starts with new eyeglasses. If eyeglasses don't provide adequate vision, then contact lenses, usually rigid gas permeable or scleral contact lenses, may be recommended. With mild cases, new eyeglasses can usually make vision clear again. Eventually, though, it will probably be necessary to use contact lenses or seek other treatments to strengthen the cornea and improve vision.