Keratoconus, Risks & Systemic Disease
Keratoconus is a progressive degenerative disorder of the cornea whereby structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than the more normal gradual spherical shape. Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision, with multiple images, streaking and sensitivity to light all often becoming troubling to the patient. Usually, we diagnose keratoconus during the adolescent years. If both eyes are significantly affected, the deterioration in vision can affect the person's ability to drive a car or read normal print.
In most cases, we can fit specialized contact lenses to correct vision sufficiently to allow the person to continue to drive legally and likewise function normally. Further progression of the disease may require surgery, for which several options are available and most popular, including intrastromal corneal ring segments, corneal collagen cross-linking, and in about 25% of cases, corneal transplantation. Estimates of the rates for keratoconus range from 1 in 500 to 1 in 2000 people. Recent information alerts us to a number of demographic, ancestry and systemic risk factors. These include that those of African ancestry have a 57% greater risk of a keratoconus and Latino persons have a 43% greater risk of being diagnosed compared with a Caucasian population. Asians had 39% reduced risks of keratoconus and patients with uncomplicated diabetes mellitus (DM) had 20% less risk. Other conditions found to have significantly increased risk of developing keratoconus include sleep apnea and asthma.
If you or someone you know is at risk for keratoconus or wishes to be evaluated for keratoconus please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.