Keratoconus is a condition that causes thinning of the cornea that effects between 20-230 people per 100,000 in the population. That is a wide range, but in our practice we see patients with this condition enough that I would call it a fairly common eye disease.
Keratoconus can vary from a small distortion that causes someone’s astigmatism to progressively get worse and change over time all the way to clouding the cornea so much that a corneal transplant may be required.
There are currently some studies being done on a process called collagen crosslinking that basically firms up the cornea a little to slow/stop the progression of the keratoconus. This is currently under study by the FDA and does not cure any distortions in the vision that have already occurred, this only slows/stops it from moving forward.
These distortions present a unique problem when trying to get clear vision with glasses, or even conventional soft contact lenses. Because the distortion is on the very front part of the eye, a soft contact lens lays like a blanket on the distortion and does not give great vision most of the time.
The best way to see clearly with keratoconus is to wear a Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) or hybrid lens. Hybrid lenses are RGP lenses in the center surrounded by a soft contact lens. This soft attachment raises the RGP off of the cornea slightly to improve comfort while maintaining the visual acuity of the RGP. It really does offer the best of both worlds, comfort of a soft lens with the vision of an RGP!
I have fit a number of people in lenses that have improved vision and quality of life. If you suffer from keratoconus and would like to discuss your options to try to get the clearest vision you can, please set up an appointment to come see me. Please call 502-897-1604to set up an appointment for your specialty contact lens fitting.
Dr. Chris Stroud OD