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Can Keratoconus Be Cured?

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A close-up of an eye affected by keratoconus.

Keratoconus is a chronic eye condition that cannot be cured or reversed. However, your vision doesn’t need to worsen—your eye doctor can help treat this condition to support your sight. 

The treatment and management options for keratoconus range from specialty contacts like scleral lenses to ICL (implantable collamer lens) surgery. Finding the right treatment for your needs starts with an eye exam. It’s important to understand how this condition affects your eyes and the complexities of treating it. 

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a condition caused by the thinning and weakening of the cornea (the clear front part of the eye), causing it to bulge out in a cone-like shape. This can lead to distorted and blurred vision, making it difficult to see clearly.

Keratoconus affects your vision by changing how light rays enter your eye and land on your retina, the part of the eye that sends signals to the brain to help you see. 

The common symptoms of keratoconus include: 

  • Blurry vision
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Red eyes and swelling
  • Straight lines looking bent or wavy

While keratoconus cannot be cured and the cornea cannot be restored to its original state, there are options for managing this condition and seeing clearly. The treatment we recommend for keratoconus will depend on the severity of your symptoms, which we can identify during an eye exam. 

A woman in her hoodie rubbing both of her eyes.

What Causes Keratoconus?

The exact cause of keratoconus is not yet fully understood, but experts believe it may be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with a family history of the condition can be more likely to develop it themselves—approximately 1 in 10 people with keratoconus also have a parent affected by keratoconus. 

Other factors that may be related to keratoconus development include: 

We can help diagnose keratoconus during a comprehensive eye exam by taking a detailed look at your eye, including your cornea. Some diagnostic technology even helps map the cornea’s surface to identify potential problems like keratoconus. 

How Do You Treat Keratoconus?

There is a wide variety of keratoconus treatments, including contact lenses, surgery, and even corneal transplants. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, we can help you determine the right option for your personal health and vision needs.

Specialty Contact Lenses

Some specialty contact lenses can help you see more clearly when you have keratoconus. You may not need specialty contacts right away, but as this condition progresses, you may need to switch from standard contacts to specialty contacts over time. 

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your eye doctor may recommend scleral contact lenses. Scleral lenses are specialty contacts that rest on the sclera, the white of your eye, rather than the cornea. The larger size of these lenses can be ideal for irregularly shaped corneas—such as those caused by conditions like keratoconus—because they don’t rest directly on the cornea.  

Corneal Transplants

A corneal transplant involves replacing your cornea with healthy tissue from a donor, preventing future deterioration. With proper care and follow-up visits, many patients experience improved vision and an improved quality of life after a corneal transplant. However, you may still require glasses or contacts to see clearly after the procedure. 

Corneal Cross-Linking

Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive treatment option that can help slow the progression of keratoconus with a combination of vitamin B eye drops and ultraviolet (UV) light. During the procedure, your doctor will apply a solution to your cornea and use a UV light to strengthen the collagen fibers in your eyes.

This treatment can help prevent further changes to the cornea, protecting your vision and eye health.

ICL Surgery

ICL surgery is a procedure that’s often recommended to help improve vision for people with high vision prescriptions or cataracts, but it can also be an option for some people with keratoconus. 

During the surgery, your surgeon makes a small incision in the cornea, and a contact lens-like device called an EVO implantable collamer lens (ICL) is inserted behind the iris but in front of the eye’s natural lens. 

EVO ICL is primarily used for patients with severe nearsightedness, and while ICL surgery may not be for everyone, it can be an effective treatment option for those with moderate to severe keratoconus as it can reduce reliance on glasses or make soft contact lenses.

Manage Keratoconus with Our Help

While keratoconus isn’t a curable condition, you can manage and treat it with help from your eye doctor. Many treatments are available to help protect and enhance your vision. We can recommend a customized treatment plan during your next eye exam at Golden Vision Optometry

Book an appointment with us to get personalized advice for managing keratoconus and other eye conditions.

Written by Golden Vision

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