Medical & Surgical Ophthalmology

cornea

Keratoconus

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an alteration of the cornea (front and transparent external layer of the eye) due to a central thinning of it.

This thinning is accompanied by a progressive increase in the curvature of the cornea, which goes from spherical to conical. As a consequence, there are alterations in the ocular graduation: induction of irregular astigmatism and/or myopia (nearsighted).

Keratoconus is the leading cause of corneal transplantation in young patients.

Why does keratoconus occur?

A family relationship is often found (hereditary cause), but it has also been linked to a very important environmental factor: rubbing.

There are studies that suggest that pathologies related to atopy or ocular allergy, or any pathology that induces a habitual rubbing of the eyes, can induce the formation of keratoconus.

This is keratoconus

How does keratoconus manifest?

The main symptom of keratoconus is a decrease in visual acuity, which over time is accompanied by the appearance or worsening of previous astigmatism. It usually presents bilaterally, although with different degrees in each eye (asymmetrical).

Keratoconus treatments

MILD CASES of keratoconus: glasses or contact lenses are used to correct the refractive error and improve visual acuity.

MODERATE CASES in which it is desired to stop the progression of keratoconus: surgical treatments are used, such as corneal crosslinking or intrastromal rings, when irregular astigmatism produces severe optical alterations.

SERIOUS CASES: the definitive solution is keratoplasty or corneal transplantation, which consists of the partial or total replacement of the patient’s cornea.

Keratoconus prevention

There are no preventive measures that prevent keratoconus, but there are treatments to stop them. Early detection of keratoconus is essential to avoid advanced cases, which can only be solved by corneal transplantation.

It is recommended that direct relatives of keratoconus patients undergo ophthalmological check-ups, since as it has a genetic load, they can be carriers of the disease.

Summary

Debut

It usually occurs in young patients or at the end of life.

Symptoms

The main presentation is decreased vision and new or increased astigmatism.

Revision

It is advisable to carry out routine check-ups on patients at risk: children, adolescents, young people, and direct relatives of keratoconus patients.

Prevention

Early detection is key to avoiding very advanced cases that require a corneal transplant.

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