Keratoconus, a degenerative eye condition, can have big impact on your daily life, affecting your ability to drive, read and do all of the little tasks that most people take for granted. Learning as much as possible about the condition as you can and taking proactive steps to manage it can minimize its impact on your life.
The disorder impacts an estimated 30 million people worldwide, according to Global Keratoconus Society. The disorder causes the cornea to thin and take a more conical shape, affecting vision. Keratoconus can cause big changes in your vision, causing sensitivity, streaking and multiple images. In most cases, the disorder manifests in adolescence or your early 20s, but adults can develop the disorder as well.
One of the most important things you can do if you believe you may have the disorder is to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Early diagnosis expands Keratoconus treatment options and may help your doctor arrest the problem. There are a variety of treatments physicians can use, including highly effective new cross-linking treatments using riboflavin and UV light. Staying in contact with your doctor and informing him or her of any changes to your vision will also help you better manage the disorder.
Getting used to contact lenses that may be prescribed to you is another issue many people with Keratoconus must handle. Regular wear of your contacts and proper care for them should help you grow accustomed to them and help them in their task of stabilizing your vision.
People suffering from the disorder can take a few steps to avoid aggravating the condition, including avoiding rubbing their eyes and using eye drops to avoid dry eyes. It's also recommended that people with the disorder avoid driving at night.
The disorder can have a substantial financial impact for many. Patients with Keratoconus can spend more than $25,000 in a lifetime for treatment and care, including contact lenses, cross-linking or other treatment – and, in some cases, a corneal transplant. Much of the cost of treatment for most patients involves specialized contact lenses, which are more expensive than ordinary contacts.
Keratoconus can have a major emotional impact, causing patients fear and apprehension. Discussing your feelings with family and friends, as well as other people living with the disorder, can help you better adjust to living with the disorder.
By educating yourself on Keratoconus, men and women with the disorder can take the necessary steps to mitigate its impact on their daily lives.