Keratoconus is a corneal disease that occurs fairly rarely, with only about 1 in 500 people affected. When a patient has keratoconus, the cornea (clear, outermost part of the eye) is weak, and it begins to take an unusual cone-like shape. You might not know this, but the eye contains two primary refractive parts: the cornea and the lens. The cornea actually accounts for about 2/3 of the eye’s total refractive power, meaning it bends images at about twice the power of the lens. The cornea, then, plays a very large role in how well we see.
Patients who have keratoconus have visual difficulties that tend to get gradually worse over time. In the past, penetrating keratoplasty, or full-thickness corneal transplant, was the only treatment. Modern innovations like partial-thickness transplant (e.g. DSEK, Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty) and even corneal collagen cross-linking have given keratoconus patients a wider range of treatment options with much shorter recovery times.
If you’ve noticed a change in your vision, or even a change in your eye’s shape, contact Eastside Eye Associates to see how we can help!