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Keratoconus in Philadelphia, PA

Ophthalmic Partners provides treatment for keratoconus for patients in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; and the surrounding communities.

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a common corneal dystrophy that leads to progressive loss of vision, usually in a younger population. A corneal dystrophy is a non-inflammatory inherited condition that affects both eyes and may be progressive. In keratoconus, the cornea begins to thin and change shape from spherical to conical. As the cornea continues to change, the vision will worsen due to increasing regular and/or irregular astigmatism. Many patients start out in glasses or traditional contact lenses and then progress to needing toric (or astigmatism correcting) contact lenses or rigid gas permeable contact lenses.

What causes keratoconus?

While a specific cause of keratoconus is unknown, the condition is believed to be associated with rubbing of the eyes, long-term contact lens use and other eye and medical conditions.

What are the risk factors for keratoconus?

People with a family medical history of keratoconus may be at higher risk for developing the condition. Other risk factors include inherited conditions, such as Down Syndrome, Leber’s congenital amaurosis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta.

How can keratoconus be prevented?

Some precautions that may decrease your likelihood of developing keratoconus include avoiding rubbing your eyes and wearing eyeglasses if you are a long-term contact lens wearer.

How is keratoconus diagnosed?

Keratoconus tends to affect a younger population. Progressive nearsightedness and astigmatism develop as the cornea becomes more misshapen, and the eyeglasses prescription may change with every visit to the eye doctor. Blurred and distorted vision may also occur. Many people are diagnosed in their late teens and early twenties when they notice their vision changing. The dystrophy tends to progress through about age 40 and then greatly slows down.

How is keratoconus treated?

Treatment for keratoconus starts with contact lens wear, and as long as contact lenses fit and give good vision no surgical intervention is necessary. In some cases, the cornea becomes so misshapen or scarred that a contact lens will not correct the vision. In these cases, implantable corneal ring segments or INTACS can be placed in the eye to make the cornea more spherical, leading to improved vision. Approximately 20% of patients with keratoconus seeing a corneal specialist will eventually need a partial or full thickness corneal transplant to restore good vision.

There are currently several active areas of research for patients with keratoconus. A number of new types of gas permeable and soft contact lenses and hybrid and scleral lenses are being developed. New treatments such as vitamin B2 and collagen crosslinking will likely be available in the near future.

Additional Eye Disorders

Early detection of eye disease is the best defense against vision loss, particularly for individuals over the age of 40. Should you experience any vision problems that could be an indicator of an eye disorder, contact one of our offices in Philadelphia, PA, Bala Cynwyd, PA, or Marlton, NJ, as soon as possible to book an assessment.

The eye doctors and surgeons at Ophthalmic Partners have the necessary expertise and experience to diagnose, manage, and treat complex eye disorders and disease. Visit us today to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.