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Keratoconus and Corneal Ectasia

Treated in Duluth, GA near Atlanta by Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons

Some visual blurring is extremely common, so most people aren’t concerned when they discover that they need corrective lenses. In some cases, though, blurring vision may be a sign of another eye condition called keratoconus. Learn about keratoconus and similar conditions, including ways to treat these conditions, from our experienced board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. William Segal at Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons.

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is one type of corneal ectasia – an abnormal thinning of the cornea. There are several conditions under the umbrella of corneal ectasia. Keratoconus is the most common form of corneal ectasia, but it is still a rather rare condition.

Sometimes called KC, keratoconus is a progressive thinning and weakening of your cornea. As your cornea thins, it is less able to maintain its shape against the pressure inside your eye. As a result, your cornea begins to bulge outward in the front of your eye in a cone-like shape.

Keratoconus can affect anyone. It appears to generally affect men and women at the same rate. While it impacts people of all ethnic groups, keratoconus tends to appear more frequently in people of Asian descent.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

The symptoms of keratoconus generally include:

  • Blurred vision that progressively worsens over the course of several years
  • Vision distortion
  • Increased light sensitivity

Keratoconus usually begins in your late teens or early 20s. It tends to progress for about 10 to 20 years before the progression slows down or stops altogether. Your symptoms can also be different in each eye.

Symptoms of keratoconus aren’t always significant enough for you to notice them on your own in the early stages, so for early detection, it is important to keep up with your regular annual eye exams.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Keratoconus?

If keratoconus is left untreated, it will cause progressively worsening visual impairment. It can ultimately cause severe impairment that isn’t able to be significantly improved with glasses or contacts.

Treatments for Keratoconus

If you are diagnosed with keratoconus, there are several treatments that may be able to help with your symptoms and your condition.

Specialized Vision Correction

Particularly in the early and moderate stages of keratoconus, specialized contact lenses may be able to adjust for your corneal shape irregularities and reduce your visual impairment. There are multiple types of lenses that may be effective for different severity levels. It’s important to note that vision correction does not slow or improve your keratoconus; it only reduces your current symptoms.

iLink™ Corneal Cross-Linking

The links throughout the collagen in your cornea are a key part of your cornea’s strength and thickness. An effective way to treat keratoconus is to strengthen your corneas by improving the collagen cross-linking.

iLink™ is an FDA-approved way to improve your corneal cross-linking. During the procedure at our Sandy Springs surgical center, we use a combination of specialized eyedrops with precise ultraviolet light exposure to create new cross-links among your collagen. The minimally invasive treatment fortifies your cornea, slowing or stopping the progression of your keratoconus.

Corneal Transplant

In severe cases of highly progressed keratoconus, a corneal transplant surgery may be able to help. During the surgery, we will remove the part of your cornea that is affected by keratoconus and replace it with a donor cornea.

What to Do if You Believe You May Have Keratoconus

If you suspect that you may have keratoconus, schedule an eye appointment with Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons. We will be able to discuss your symptoms, assess your condition, and determine the best treatment plan if necessary.

Our Commitment:

At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons we’re committed to exceptional eye care for our patients and their families. We know how much the health of your eyes means for your quality of life. We’re committed to serving your complete eye care needs with the respect and care we would use in treating our own family.

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