Q. What is keratoconus?
A. Keratoconus is a disease of worsening near-sightedness and astigmatism that typically afflicts adolescents and young adults. The disease affects the shape and strength of the cornea (the clear dome-shaped front layer of the eye that focuses light). In keratoconus, the cornea becomes steeper and irregular (less round), taking on a conical shape as the disease progresses.
The symptoms of keratoconus are worsening vision, glare, and increasing near-sightedness and astigmatism correction in glasses. Many patients with the disease find that despite new glasses, they still aren’t seeing well. Others find that they can see well in rigid or toric contact lenses but not in their glasses.
Many patients with keratoconus rub their eyes. This may speed the rate at which keratoconus progresses.
Q. How do I know if I have keratoconus?
A. If you think you may have keratoconus, ask your eye care provider to perform a corneal topography. If they do not have one available, request a visit with an ophthalmologist that does have one. This test, which maps the cornea, is the gold standard for diagnosing keratoconus, and it is also a method for following progression.