Your cornea is the clear, dome-shaped tissue at the front of your eye. It acts as both the window in and out of your eye as well as a focusing lens for light. Keratoconus occurs when the cornea thins out and bulges forward like a cone making typical vision correction methods (glasses and soft contacts) difficult.
Changing the shape of the cornea brings light rays out of focus causing a variety of symptoms including rapidly progressive nearsightedness, astigmatism, distorted and blurred vision as well as glare and light sensitivity.
Keratoconus is usually diagnosed during routine eye exams. Advanced retinal scans are used to determine the extent of damage and provide tailored treatments and corrective measures.
In the early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct vision. As the disorder progresses, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses and scleral contact lenses are generally prescribed to correct vision more adequately as the cornea continues thinning and changing. The contact lenses must be carefully fitted, with frequent checkups and often lens changes to treat the changing cornea. Intact or intracorneal rings are sometimes used to improve contact lens fits.
In severe cases, a corneal transplant may be needed due to scarring, extreme thinning or contact lens intolerance. This is a surgical procedure replacing the keratoconus cornea with healthy donor tissue.