Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disorder characterized by progressive thinning and changes in the shape of the cornea. The cornea is the thin, clear outer layer of the eye and is normally rounded or dome-shaped. In those with keratoconus, slowly progressive thinning of the cornea causes a cone-shaped bulge to develop towards the center of the cornea in the areas of greatest thinning. Affected individuals develop blurry or distorted vision and sensitivity to light (photophobia). The hallmark of Keratoconus is that vision is poorly corrected with glasses, most notably in advanced cases. The vision correction of choice most often is contact lenses. Keratoconus begins at puberty and most often is seen young adults. Keratoconus may become progressively worse for 10 to 20 years before slowing. Older adults typically do not have worsening of keratoconus.

The incidence and prevalence rates of Keratoconus in the medical literature vary widely.  It is generally believed that 1 per 100,000 of the population is affected by this disorder. The specific underlying cause is not fully understood and most likely the condition results from the interaction of multiple factors including genetic and environmental ones.  One environmental factor known to contribute to the weakness of the cornea is eye rubbing.  Keratoconus is treated with glasses early in the condition and contact lenses as the condition progresses.  Because of the corneal irregularities, glasses provide the least vision correction.  Soft contact lenses are sometimes used, but most of the time they do not provide optimal vision correction. 

Rigid gas permeable contact lenses do provide the best visual correction.  Because of the corneal distortion and irregularities, specialized lens designs can be used for optimal comfort and vision.  In recent years, the latest lens modality for Keratoconus is the fitting of Scleral contact lenses.  These are large diameter rigid contact lenses that vault the cornea and provide superior comfort and vision.  Because they vault the cornea, there is always a layer of tears between the lens and the cornea providing all day comfort without irritation.  Dr Baker has over 30 years of experience of successfully fitting Keratoconus and other diseased and irregular cornea’s.

 

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