Keratoconus (KC) is a condition where the cornea thins into a cone-like bulge, which distorts your vision over time. Ophthalmologist, Dr. Stephen Khachikian, specializes in keratoconus and other vision problems. He can help treat your symptoms and prevent the disease from advancing.
How is keratoconus diagnosed?
During its early stages, keratoconus can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms may also vary from eye to eye. Early signs include:
- Slightly distorted and/or blurred vision
- Increased light sensitivity
- Red, swollen, or irritation in your eye(s)
- Difficulty with night driving
- Viewing a halo around lights
- Headaches and/or eye pain
As the disease progresses, you’ll notice an increase in nearsightedness or astigmatism. These symptoms make it difficult to focus and cause blurriness and distorted vision. It also becomes difficult or impossible to wear contact lenses.
Catching KC in the early stages
Dr. Khachikian focuses on diagnosing your condition earlier rather than later. That's the best way to manage the disease’s progression. While it may take years for keratoconus to worsen, it can sometimes advance more swiftly. This is why it’s so important to keep regular check-ups with Dr. Khachikian and come in as soon as you notice any unusual signs.
During your appointment, Dr. Khachikian will discuss your symptoms, review your medical history, and perform a comprehensive eye exam. Tests may include:
- Eye refraction to check your vision
- Slit-lamp microscope exam to evaluate the shape of your corneas
- Keratometry to measure your corneal curvature using refracted light
- Computerized corneal mapping
Since KC thins the cornea, Dr. Khachikian will first measure its thickness to determine the severity of your condition. Together, you'll decide on the appropriate course of action to manage and prevent it from worsening.
What causes KC and can it be prevented?
According to the National Keratoconus Foundation (NKCF), one in every 2000 people experience this disease. It's often diagnosed during puberty or late teens. Believed to have environmental and/or genetic origins, one in 10 people diagnosed also have a parent who suffers from KC.
How to manage KC
Keratoconus may progress for decades before stabilizing. That’s why it’s best to catch it early. Managing your keratoconus symptoms is Dr. Khachikian’s number one priority. He recommends a variety of options, depending upon your disease’s severity, such as:
In its earliest stages, vision correction may be all you need. However, it's important you schedule frequent exams to keep your prescription up to date.
Special rigid contact lenses can correct your vision and even help delay the progression of the disease. Scleral contact lenses, which cover a larger area, fit over the bulging area quite well.
Dr. Khachikian surgically implants small plastic arcs, known as Intacs, within your cornea to help flatten the cone.
Riboflavin eye drops and UV light help stabilize your condition. They create new links between the collagen fibers inside your cornea.
As a last option, Dr. Khachikian performs corneal surgery to replace part or all your cornea with donor tissue.
If you notice any symptoms, such as unusual blurriness or cloudiness, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kachikian. You can visit us here.