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If you've ever looked into a funhouse mirror, you know that even a small aberration in a mirror's contours can make normal images impossible. The same holds true for keratoconus -- but there is no entertainment value to be derived from this deformation of the corneas, which can cause severe astigmatism and other vision problems. If you're concerned about the potential impact of this eye disease on your quality of life, rest assured that you can receive an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment recommendations from our Winchester eye doctor, Dr. Joseph P. Deering.
To understand what keratoconus is and how it affects your eyesight, we must first look at how the cornea of the eye is supposed to do its job under normal circumstances. Ideally, this semi-spherical "window" to the eye should extend over the iris and pupil in a smooth, perfect curve, allowing incoming light to enter the eye with just the right refraction for clear image processing. In real life, of course, corneas are seldom so perfectly shaped, and even small imperfections cause can produce refractive errors. Keratoconus represents an especially extreme deviation from the normal curvature. In this condition, which generally appears early in adulthood and grows progressively worse over a period of several years, the cornea bulges outward, often in a characteristic cone-like shape. This distorts incoming light to cause severe refractive errors, especially astigmatism. In some cases, the cornea deforms to the extent that tiny "cracks" or ruptures occur, causing even more distorted vision for weeks at a time.
No one is entirely sure why some individuals are susceptible to the weakness and/or thinness of corneal tissue that leads to keratoconus. Genetics may play a role, along with oxidative damage and repeated exposure to UV radiation. People who rub their eyes a lot may also be prone to developing it.
Fortunately, keratoconus is relatively easy to detect in the course of a comprehensive eye exam and vision test at Winchester Optical. Our eye doctor can use slit-lamp testing, keratometry, and corneal mapping technology to identify and measure corneal abnormalities, while a vision test can reveal how severely the keratoconus is affecting your vision. The sooner we diagnose your keratoconus, the sooner we can begin prescribing the right course of treatment.
Mild to moderate keratoconus can be compensated for with corrective lenses. Eyeglasses are the simplest means of correcting mild keratoconus. Specialized contacts lenses, such as scleral lenses which "vault" over the cornea instead of sitting directly on it, can also help. Frequent exams and prescription upgrades enable us to keep pace with the keratoconus's development. If you require more advanced treatment, we may refer you to a specialist for Intacs (supportive implants) or a possible corneal transplant.
Winchester Optical is ready to provide you with sight-savings solutions to your keratoconus problem. Call (781) 729-4553 today for an appointment with our optometrist!