This vision problem hits you at early adolescence, and may leave you blind

Yes, visual impairments are manageable, but not all of them are. Thanks to much advancement in ophthalmologic interventions, we have come a long from being incapable of stopping or hindering the progression of visual impairments that cause a blurry view of your television screen. Nowadays, we have managements for visual impairments that help return eyesight to near normal functionality. But medical research—much like every field of study—also has its road bumps that thump even the most experienced professionals in the field. And in an Optometrist’s or Ophthalmologist’s point of view, one of these road bumps would be Keratoconus—a visual impairment that is prevalent in developing countries with a 1 in every 2,000 incidence rate in the most advanced country in the world, and if left untreated, may eventually lead to complete loss of vision.[1]

But what exactly is Keratoconus? Keratoconus—or shortened to KC—is a progressive eye disease wherein the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape, which causes alterations in the way light enters and refracts in the eye, causing visual distortions.[2] It affects one or both eyes, and usually presents itself as early as puberty or at an individual’s early 20’s with no specifically identified causes. Although there are no specific causes have been identified over the years, some risk factors are believed to be contributory to its development such as over exposure to ultraviolet rays, excessive eye rubbing, and a history of poorly fitted contact lenses, as well as chronic eye irritation.[3]Read further to know how to detect, treat, and prevent Keratoconus:

How do I know if I have Keratoconus?

Depending on the degree of progression and severity of the visual impairment, Keratoconus can be classified as mild, moderate, or advanced. Mild Keratoconus can present the following signs and symptoms early on:[4]

  • Image distortions
  • Glare/flare
  • Monocular diplopia or ghost images
  • Multiple unsatisfactory attempts to obtain optimum spectacle correction
  • Itchy eyes
  • Frequent change or increase in the prescription (usually in 2-4months or less than 6mos)

 

Although having these symptoms are not definitive signs of Keratoconus, so it is still highly advisable to have your eyes examined by your local Optometrist at least once a year.

 

How do I prevent Keratoconus?

A lack of identified definitive causes for Keratoconus leaves some ambiguity regarding its prevention. Despite this, proper eye care and hygiene practices are advised to help those who are at high risk of developing it can be practiced, such as:[5]

  • Avoid frequent aggressive rubbing of the eyes
  • Regular eye examinations with your Optometrist

Are there treatment options available in the Philippines?

Treatment options made available here in the Philippines for the management of Keratoconus vary from non-surgical to surgical. And the key to help patients reduce their costs and to address the disease more efficiently is to always advise frequent check-ups for the early detection and management of such progressive disorders. A commonly known and low-cost management option that’s gaining popularity here in the Philippines is with the fitting of rigid gas permeable contact lenses that help reform the cornea back to its normal shape.

               

 


[1]Barry A. Weissman, O. P. (2016, April). Keratoconus. Retrieved 2017, from Medscape: http://www.emedicine.medscape.com

 

[2]William Trattler, M. (2016). Keratoconus Causes, Symptoms, and Nine Treatment Options. Retrieved 2017, from All About Vision: http://www.allaboutvision.com

 

[3]William Trattler, M. (2016). Keratoconus Causes, Symptoms, and Nine Treatment Options. Retrieved 2017, from All About Vision: http://www.allaboutvision.com

 

[4]Barry A. Weissman, O. P. (2016, April). Keratoconus. Retrieved 2017, from Medscape: http://www.emedicine.medscape.com

 

[5]Sherman Winston Reeves, M. M. (n.d.). Keratoconus. Retrieved 2017, from Improve Your Vision: http://www.improveyourvision.com

 

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