What is the usual age of onset of keratoconus? How fast does it progress?
The age of onset of keratoconus can vary from early teens to people in their 40’s or older. Although cases in which keratoconus is first diagnosed at an earlier age usually result in more advanced progression, it is not unusual for the disease to progress upto a certain point and then stablize. The continued thinning of the cornea usually progresses slowly for 5 to 10 years and then tends to stop. Occasionally, it is rapidly progressive.
Does keratoconus affect both eyes?
Yes, in approximately 90% of keratoconus cases the disease will manifest itself in both eyes. The rate of progression and the timing of the onset of the disease however is typically different for each eye.
What are the symptoms of keratoconus?
· In its earliest stages, keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light. These symptoms usually first appear in the late teens and early twenties.. Keratoconus patients can also experience light sensitivity, disturbed night vision, headaches from eye strain and reading problems. They may require frequent chane of glasses.
What is astigmatism? Are keratoconus and astigmatism same?
Astigmatism is a common condition where the curvature of one or more of the optical surfaces of the eye (the cornea and lens surfaces) are more “round” in one direction than the other. In “regular” astigmatism the maximum and minimum powers are aligned at 90 degrees to each other while in “irregular” astigmatism they do not align. An egg is a good example of a surface with “regular astigmatism”. Keratoconus is a degenerative condition where the cornea thins in certain areas. This can lead to astigmatism – often regular at first but becoming increasingly irregular as the disease progresses.
What Causes Keratoconus?
The cause of keratoconus is still unknown despite our long experience with it. There has been no shortage of speculation or study and numerous theories have been proposed.
One scientific view is that keratoconus is developmental (i.e., genetic) in origin. This suggests that it is the consequence of an abnormality of growth, essentially a congenital defect.