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Holmdel Optometrist Diagnoses and Treats Keratoconus

Usually detected for the first time in older teenagers and young adults, keratoconus is a corneal abnormality affecting the shape of the cornea. During your eye exam with your Holmdel optometrist, your cornea will be measured with special optical devices to determine if keratoconus is affecting the cornea.

woman going through Keratoconus in Holmdel, NJ

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus causes the cornea to bulge outwardly, which interferes with the way the cornea refracts light. If incoming light is not refracted normally, the retina cannot send clear vision signals to the optic nerve and on to the brain. Although eye doctors aren't sure what causes keratoconus, they suspect a bulging cornea may be genetic or possibly due to allergies. 

Symptoms of Keratoconus

Early signs of keratoconus involve blurry vision, the need to frequently change lens prescriptions and inability to correct blurry vision with eyeglasses or contacts. Other keratoconus symptoms include:

  • Difficulty seeing at night, especially when driving
  • Photosensitivity
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Eye strain headaches/eye irritation.

Early stage keratoconus may not be detected during a regular eye exam. Diagnosing keratoconus requires your Holmdel optometrist use a slit lamp device to closely inspect the cornea. During a slip lamp exam, optometrists look for corneal thinning, stress lines due to corneal thinning (Vogt's striae) and minor scarring at the bulge's apex (apical scarring). Corneal mapping and keratometry are additional tests designed to accurately diagnose keratoconus.

What Kind of Treatment is Available for Keratoconus?

Soft contact lenses or eyeglasses are a standard treatment for early-stage keratoconus causing astigmatism or nearsightedness. Since keratoconus is a progressive disorder,  those diagnosed with keratoconus will continue experiencing corneal thinning and changes to the shape of the cornea. Instead of eyeglasses, contact lenses are recommended to treat keratoconus because they create a smooth surface on the front of affected eyes. This not only improves light refraction but may also delay progressive bulging of the cornea.

Specialty contacts prescribed by your Holmdel optometrist for keratoconus include:

  • Customized rigid gas permeable contact lenses
  • Piggyback (RGP lenses placed on top of soft contacts) contact lenses
  • Hybrid (RGP lens material in center surrounded by a softer material) contact lenses
  • Scleral (large diameter RGP lenses) contact lenses

Collagen cross-linking is another keratoconus treatment involving your eye doctor using eye drops and a UV light to strengthen corneal tissues. Collagen cross-linking helps stiffen and flatten the cornea to reduce bulging.

Although severe cases of keratoconus are rare, people with extreme bulging thinning and scarring of the cornea may need a corneal transplant. Corneal transplants are minimally invasive procedures involving replacement of the damaged cornea with a donor cornea.

Meet Our Holmdel Optometrist for Keratoconus Treatment Today

Detecting and treating keratoconus in its earliest stage is the best preventive action to take to delay progression. Schedule an eye exam appointment today with your Holmdel optometrist by calling Marshall EyeCare Physicians, PC at 732-275-0010.

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