Keratoconus – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Saturday, April 28, 2018 by

Keratoconus refers to when an individual has a cone-shaped cornea and the apex of the cone protrudes forward. The cornea is the clear thin outer layer of the eye. It is normally rounded or dome-shaped.

When a person has keratoconus, the slowly progressive thinning of the cornea results in the formation of a cone-shaped bulge near the center of the cornea in the thinnest areas.

Keratoconus usually manifests during puberty and the disorder is often seen in teenagers or young adults. While the exact underlying cause of keratoconus is still unknown, it is possible that the disorder is caused by the interaction of several factors like genetic and environmental ones.

A major factor that may worsen cornea weakness is eye rubbing. In some individuals, keratoconus could develop alongside a larger disorder.

Patients with keratoconus have distorted vision and the disorder is also called conical cornea, KC, and KCN.

Known side effects of keratoconus

The side effects of keratoconus usually include:

  • Astigmatism — Nearsightedness people with keratoconus can also develop astigmatism.
  • Eye halos
  • Glare
  • Nearsightedness — Individuals with keratoconus often have a history of being nearsighted. The nearsightedness may worsen after some time.
  • Slightly blurred vision — Blurred vision is one of the earliest signs of this disorder and this cannot be corrected with eyeglasses. The vision of patients may be corrected to 20/20 with rigid and gas-permeable contact lenses.

Risk factors for keratoconus may include:

  • Environment — Asthma, atopic disease, and hay fever are linked to keratoconus.
  • Eye-rubbing — Based on clinical observations, eye-rubbing is a possible risk factor for keratoconus.
  • Systemic disorders — According to several studies, keratoconus is associated with systemic disorders like Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and osteogenesis imperfecta

Body systems harmed by keratoconus

Keratoconus may cause the following complications:

  • Acute corneal hydrops — In rare cases, advanced keratoconus can progress to acute corneal hydrops because of breaks in Descemet’s membrane. This can cause corneal edema.
  • Secondary corneal scarring

Food items or nutrients that may prevent keratoconus

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent keratoconus:

  • Carrots — Carrots are full of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A is a component of a protein called rhodopsin that helps the retina absorb light.
  • Citrus fruits — Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that can prevent age-related eye damage. Sources include grapefruits, oranges, and lemons.
  • Eggs — Eggs have lutein and zeaxanthin which can help lower the risk of age-related sight loss. Eggs also contain vitamins C, E, and zinc.
  • Fish — Fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil can even help reverse dry eye. Sources include anchovies, herring, mackerel, and salmon.
  • Leafy green vegetables — Leafy greens are full of both lutein and zeaxanthin. They also contain vitamin C. Sources include collards, kale, and spinach.
  • Nuts and legumes — Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids and they are rich in vitamin E that can protect the eye from age-related damage. Nuts and legumes good for the eyes include Brazil nuts, cashews, lentils, peanuts, and walnuts.
  • Sweet potatoes — Sweet potatoes are also full of beta-carotene and vitamin E.

Treatments, management plans for keratoconus

The main treatment for keratoconus is a prescription for contact lenses. However, while the lenses can improve a patient’s vision, they do not treat or prevent the condition.

Individuals with keratoconus can wear sunglasses outdoors after diagnosis to help slow or prevent the progress of the disorder.

The following treatments can help delay or prevent the need for corneal transplantation:

  • Corneal collagen cross-linking –– This treatment may cause the cornea to stiffen, which usually prevents the condition from worsening. Patients can then undergo laser vision correction to reshape the cornea.
  • Corneal implants (intracorneal ring segments) — This can change the corneas’ shape so contact lenses fit better.
  • High-frequency radio energy (conductive keratoplasty) — This may also alter the shape of the corneas so contact lenses can fit better.

Where to learn more

Summary

Keratoconus refers to when an individual has a cone-shaped cornea and the apex of the cone protrudes forward. When a person has keratoconus, the slowly progressive thinning of the cornea results in the formation of a cone-shaped bulge near the center of the cornea in the thinnest areas.

The side effects of keratoconus may include astigmatism, eye halos, glare, and nearsightedness.

Risk factors for keratoconus may include environment, eye-rubbing, and systemic disorders.

Keratoconus may cause complications like acute corneal hydrops and secondary corneal scarring.

Carrots, citrus fruits, eggs, fish, leafy green vegetables, nuts and legumes, and sweet potatoes can help prevent keratoconus.

The main treatment for keratoconus is a prescription for contact lenses. However, while the lenses can improve a patient’s vision, they do not treat or prevent the condition.

Treatments like corneal collagen cross-linking, corneal implants, and high-frequency radio energy can help delay or prevent the need for corneal transplantation in patients with keratoconus.

Sources include:

MedicineNet.com

RareDiseases.org

MedlinePlus.gov

UpToDate.com

AIMU.us

MedicalNewsToday.com



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