Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Did you know that there is a condition that is best treated with specialty contacts and not glasses? At San Marino Optometry, we pride ourselves in delivering contact lens solutions that improve vision and ultimately enhance the quality of everyday life.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that results in thinning and bulging of the cornea. Early stages of the condition causes distorted vision while advance cases can cause scarring which may require a corneal transplant.
Commonly reported risk factors for keratoconus include a history of eye allergies and vigorous eye rubbing. There is strong evidence that keratoconus has a genetic basis and the condition occurs equally in males and females. Typically keratoconus is initially diagnosed just after puberty and can progress but slows down during the fourth decade of life, however the condition can occur at any age and progresses throughout life. This is why it is so important that you bring in your children in yearly for their comprehensive eye exams to screen for keratoconus. If detected early, there are surgical options such as cross linking, which has been proven to slow down the progression of the disease.
How can we help?
For most patients with keratoconus, vision correction with glasses is not adequate and the need for specialty contact lenses is required to achieve optimal clarity. With advancements in technology today, there are many options including scleral lenses that can be used to help patients with keratoconus to regain clear functional vision while maintaining comfort and eye health.
At our office, our mission is early detection of the disease to try and halt progression (with corneal cross-crosslinking) and avoid corneal surgeries. Once the condition is stable, we will utilize the most appropriate modality to provide the best vision we possibly can.
How can a contact lens help?
In keratoconus, the cornea is thin, bulges outwards and creates an irregular coned shaped surface (causing distorted vision, halos and shadows). Soft lenses that sit on the cornea don’t usually provide clear enough vision since it drapes over the irregular surface. Hard (or RGP) contact lenses or Scleral lenses provide much clearer vision because they provide a regular surface for light to pass through.
At our office, we use a custom Scleral lens which alters the shape of the front surface to provide clearer vision. Scleral lenses are larger than your cornea and if fitted correctly, they are usually very comfortable AND they provide much clearer vision than glasses or soft contact lenses – now that is a double win!
So now that you are familiar with Keratoconus - meet our patient here who has Keratoconus. He was able to achieve 20/20 in both eyes with his custom designed Scleral lenses - while his glasses were only able to get him seeing at best 20/50! That's life changing to say the least!