Fuerst Eye Center
Board-Certified Ophthalmologists & Eye Surgeons located in West Covina, CA & Glendale / La Canada, CA
Keratoconus isn’t common, but it’s a progressive eye disease that requires ongoing medical management to prevent health complications. Board-certified ophthalmologists David Fuerst, MD and Nicole Fuerst, MD specialize in cornea conditions and can diagnose and treat keratoconus. To schedule a comprehensive eye exam with the compassionate and experienced team at Fuerst Eye Center, call the office in Glendale or West Covina, California, or request an appointment online today.
Keratoconus Q & A
What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a disease that causes thinning, bulging, and scarring of the cornea. It often affects both eyes, but not equally. The disease can progress over time and cause irregular astigmatism and blurry vision that can’t be corrected with prescription eyeglasses.
Doctors are still researching the underlying cause of keratoconus, but you may be at risk of developing the eye disease if it runs in your family. It is strongly associated with eye rubbing. The disease is also associated with other health conditions, including:
- Atopic diseases (eczema)
- Down’s syndrome
- Marfan syndrome
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- Vernal keratoconjunctivitis
- Allergies that cause excessive eye rubbing
- Mitral valve prolapse
It usually begins during puberty, and vision generally worsens over the next 10-20 years.
What are keratoconus symptoms?
Keratoconus symptoms vary and may affect each eye differently. Common symptoms include:
- Mild blurry vision
- Distorted vision
- Frequent changes in your eyeglasses
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to glare
- Eye redness
- Eye swelling
As the changes in the shape of your cornea worsen, so do your symptoms. In advanced cases of keratoconus, the innermost layer of the cornea (Descemet’s membrane) can rupture, resulting in rapid corneal swelling (corneal hydrops). Symptoms of blurred vision, light sensitivity, and pain can occur. Eye drops are used to control some of the symptoms. The swelling, with resultant blurred vision, almost always resolves over time, but may last up to 3 months.
How is keratoconus diagnosed?
The board-certified ophthalmologists at Fuerst Eye Center perform comprehensive eye exams to diagnose keratoconus. During your exam, the team reviews your symptoms, medical and family history, and then performs tests to assess vision and eye health. To diagnose keratoconus, the team measures the shape of your cornea and uses advanced computer technology to create a map to identify irregularities in the curve.
How is keratoconus treated?
The team at Fuerst Eye Center develops individualized treatment plans for keratoconus. In the early stages, the team may recommend prescription eyeglasses to correct the vision changes. Your doctor also treats allergic symptoms and spends time counseling you about eye rubbing, which can accelerate the progression of the structural changes in your eye. When vision eyeglasses no longer improve your vision, the team may recommend rigid gas permeable contact lenses. Our contact lens team specializes in fitting contact lenses in keratoconus.
The eye specialists at Fuerst Eye Center also offer surgical options for the treatment of keratoconus, including:
- Intacs® (surgically implanted corneal segments to flatten the cornea)
- Corneal cross-linking (CXL) to stabilize the corneal structure
- Cornea transplants if contact lenses cannot be fitted or there is corneal scarring
The specialists work closely with you to develop a treatment plan that provides the best outcome.
To schedule a consultation with the keratoconus experts, contact the office of Fuerst Eye Center by phone or request an appointment online today.
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