The word “Keratoconus” come from two greek words, “kerato”, which means cornea, “conus”, means cone shape. Therefore, keratoconus means a cone shaped cornea. Cornea is the outermost layer of the eye. It is the first layer of the eye responsible for 30 percent of the total refractive power of our eyes. Patients suffering from keratoconus, the cornea is not spherical like a baseball or basketball surface, but instead, it shapes like a cone. The center portion of the cornea is very steep and extremely thin. As a result, light scatters in the eye instead of forming a sharp focus.
Keratoconus typically commences at puberty and progresses to the mid thirties at which time progression slows and often stops. Between age 12 and 35 it can arrest or progress at any time and there is now way to predict how fast it will progress or if it will progress at all. In general, young patients with advanced keratoconus are more likely to progress to the point where they may ultimately require some form of surgical intervention.
Keratoconus may occur in one eye initially but most commonly affects both eyes with one eye being more severely affected than the other. Both males and females are equally affected and there is no ethnic predilection though in some parts of the world such as New Zealand and in certain parts of Finland there is a higher incidence due to genetic factors.
In the past, patients suffering from keratoconus were corrected with special design hard lenses. As the condition progress with time, they eventually underwent corneal transplant. With the advancement of technology, we can now provide better option for keratoconus, such as kerasoft, scleral contact lenses and hybrid contact lenses (combining hard lens into a soft lens.). There is also corneal implant available to those advance keratoconus patients who is not a candidate for contact lenses.
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