Keratoconus is an eye disease that progressively worsens the condition of a person's eyes, sometimes even rendering eyeglasses useless. This does not mean that a person with this disease will have to suffer from poor vision for the rest of their life though; there are specialty contact lenses that fit the eye perfectly, enhancing a person's vision. These specialty contacts help to provide the cornea with the proper shape that allows light to properly reflect off of the retina, improving overall vision.
What is Keratoconus?
The progressive eye disease, keratoconus, affects the shape of a person's cornea. The disease can begin during the teen years and progressively worsen as a person ages. As the disease progresses, the cornea becomes thinner and thinner, eventually forming into a cone shape. As the cone shape forms, light is deflected rather than reaching the retina, which causes the distorted vision. Eventually, patients experience problems with seeing far away, as well as issues with night blindness. It is important that patients diagnosed with keratoconus consider undergoing Holcomb C3-R (cornea collagen crosslinking) to help stabilize and slow/halt the progressive loss of vision. Once a patient is stabilized vision can be restored with specialty contacts.
Specialty Contact Lenses
Certain types of contact lenses can help to correct mild to moderate vision issues as a result of keratoconus. Gas permeable and scleral contacts are among the most popular lenses for this condition.
Gas permeable lenses – These lenses are harder than today's most common lenses, soft lenses, but they are more flexible than the original “hard lenses.” Gas permeable contacts have the ability to transmit oxygen, which is essential to overall eye health. It also have the ability to retain their shape when a person blinks, which helps those with this progressive eye disease keep their sharp vision, rather than succumbing to the abnormal shape of their cornea. Because of their harder substance, it does take time to get used to and need to be worn consistently to allow a person's eyes to get used to the different texture.
Scleral lenses – These lenses are similar to gas permeable contacts, except that they are much larger. The lenses themselves reach all the way to the cornea, providing the flat surface that your eyes require, allowing the light to reflect off of the cornea. Scleral lenses rest on the entire white of the eye, rather than a smaller area that traditional soft lenses reach, making them comfortable to wear for those with keratoconus because of the smooth surface that they provide the eye with, while enhancing vision.
People that suffer from keratoconus used to suffer from declining vision with very few options for help. Today there are a variety of solutions, including the use of specialty contacts. Gas permeable and scleral lenses are among the most common and have been proven to help in the long run. Obtaining the appropriate help for this progressive eye disease early on can help to prevent serious issues with a person's vision and much greater comfort in the long run.