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WHAT IS KERATOCONUS?

Keratoconus is an eye disease which affects the cornea - the front transparent tissue of the eye. Keratoconus is an eye disorder, which happens when the cornea progressively deforms, gets thinner and eventually changes to an irregular conical shape.

The result of this process is irregular corneal astigmatism, which is hard /sometimes impossible/ to correct with glasses or contact lenses. Usually the changes of the cornea are asymmetrical and affect both eyes. Less than 1% of all cases affect only one of the eyes.

What are the complaints?

  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent change of the prescriptions of glasses
  • Increasing shortsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Some accompanying diseases of keratoconus are hay fever, bronchial asthma, eczemas, mitral insufficiency, Down syndrome and Marfan syndrome, loose joints, etc.
  • The initial symptoms of the disease are usually manifested during the age of 16 to 30 years old.

What causes keratoconus?

In about 7% - 19% of the cases there is a family member with the same disorder, which makes specialists think that there is genetic predisposition which causes keratoconus. Others think that keratoconus is degenerative disorder of the cornea caused by other health issues.

At the early stages constantly changing astigmatism and shortsightedness is corrected by glasses or contact lenses. Usually, soft contact lenses are not suitable because they cannot correct the irregular astigmatism. In about 15-20 % of patients corneal transplantation is necessary.

What treatments of keratoconus are offered in Den Eye Clinic?

At the early stages of the disorder constantly changing astigmatism and shortsightedness is corrected by glasses or contact lenses.
During the next phase of the treatment (the aim then is to prevent further deterioration) crosslinking of corneal collagen fibrils with riboflavin and exposure to ultraviolet light are introduced. Riboflavin drops are applied many times on the cornea after which it is exposed to ultraviolet light for 30 min. This allows a biochemical reaction in corneal stroma to occur and to strengthen its cells. Then a soft contact lens is put in the eye for about 4-5 days during the first staged of recovery and the unpleasant feel, running and reddishness of the eye abate. Antibiotic drops or eye gel are also use.
In about 15-20 % of the cases a cornea graft (corneal transplantation) is required.

This treatment is the actual crosslinking of corneal collagen fibrils with riboflavin and exposure to ultraviolet light. It involves removing the uppermost corneal layer /corneal epithelium/ followed by dripping Riboflavin drops. The eye is exposed to ultraviolet light for 30 min. Then a soft contact lens or an eye pad is put for 4-5 days until the stripped corneal stroma is covered again with epithelium and the unpleasant feel, running and reddishness of the eye abate. Antibiotic drops or eye gel are use.

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