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Of all the eye diseases our Greenville eye doctor team diagnoses and treats, keratoconus is probably one of the least known. Our staff is committed to raising awareness about this eye health condition and helping all our patients from Greenville and surrounding communities maintain optimal eye health at every age.
The front clear part of your eye, called the cornea, is an important structure that helps to focus and direct light entering the eye. When a person has keratoconus, their corneas--which are usually shaped like domes--become thin and irregularly shaped (typically, more conical). This prevents light from correctly focusing on the retina, which is necessary for gathering visual information before it is transmitted to the brain via the optic nerves.
It's not exactly clear what causes keratoconus, but it's been estimated that as many as 230 per 100,000 people have the eye disease. People of any age or gender can be affected; however, it appears to occur more frequently in certain populations, including people with Down syndrome, certain allergies, and certain birth defects. Keratoconus may also be more likely to develop in people who have a long history of contact lens use and/or who rub their eyes too forcefully.
Keratoconus symptoms usually first develop when a person is in their late teens and early 20s. The main signs and symptoms include:
Additionally, these symptoms may be precipitated by sudden eye swelling (called hydrops). Usually, one eye is affected first, and eventually, both eyes are involved.
Keratoconus will generally not lead to complete blindness, however, the most advanced cases may cause a person to become legally blind or significantly have low vision.
It's important to seek treatment if you begin to develop any unusual signs or symptoms involving your eye health. If on a comprehensive eye exam you are diagnosed with keratoconus, our optometrists can initiate a variety of treatments that can help you manage the disease, including:
If your corneas begin to swell suddenly, our Greenville eye doctor team can also prescribe medicated eye drops to relieve the pain and discomfort. While the disease is not reversible, its progression can be slowed, and your quality of life can be maintained as much as possible with the help of regular check-ups with your optometrist.
Carolina Vision Care is your home to some of the most experienced eye doctors near Greenville, NC. We're proud to offer individualized and comprehensive optometry services, including keratoconus treatment, to help improve your vision and your quality of living. To schedule an eye exam or to hear more about our other services and special offers, contact us today at 252-752-4380 and receive 15% off a complete pair of glasses after your first visit.