What is Keratoconus?
This is a condition that affects the cornea of the eye. The normal cornea is nearly hemispherical in shape. However, in this condition it starts becoming conical (kerato=cornea, conus=conical). The cornea near the centre starts becoming thinner, and thereby, weaker so that it bulges under the influence of the intra-ocular pressure (IOP, the pressure inside the eye).
The normal, nearly hemispherical cornea helps to focus light rays onto the retina. However, this function is significantly affected in case of Keratoconus. Because of the conical shape, a high degree of astigmatism is induced, causing distorted vision.
Investigations that maybe required
Imaging of the cornea with an instrument called the Pentacam is usually advised. It helps to study the corneal condition in great detail – the corneal thickness, bulge, level of Keratoconus and other parameters.
In the initial stages of Keratoconus, spectacles may suffice in improving vision. However, rigid contact lenses are advised. They help by providing support to the cornea, and by partly correcting its curvature, reduce astigmatism and improve vision.
A new modality of treatment called C3R or Corneal Collagen Cross-linking is also helpful. It increases the rigidity of the cornea and helps in stopping the progression of Keratoconus, sometimes even inducing regression. Corneal transplantation may be required in severe cases or those with complications.