Keratoconus is a pathology that mainly affects young people and their causes are unknown. The doctor. Pastor, specialist in the ophthalmological clinic Oftalvist, explains how this ocular disease develops.
Keratoconus is an ocular alteration, specifically of the cornea, which produces a distortion of the images and a decrease in vision, affecting mainly young adults and adolescents.
Keratoconus is produced by a progressive thinning of the corneal thickness in the central and paracentral area of the same as well as a change in the corneal curvature .
In this way the spherical shape of the cornea changes to a conical shape.
As a consequence of this change, an irregular corneal astigmatism will result, as well as a myopia that results in a distortion of the images and a decrease in vision.
Keratoconus, possible causes
The cause and possible production mechanisms of keratoconus remain currently unresolved.
Like many idiopathic diseases, a multitude of predisposing factors and theories are always found in literature to try to explain their origin
- One of the theories is genetic or hereditary. A percentage of patients with keratoconus have affected relatives. Inheritance can be direct inheritance from parents to children or linked to complex inheritance patterns with more sporadic transmission.
- It has also been related to the chronic scratching of the eyes. It has been proven how this practice for a prolonged period can trigger the appearance of a keratoconus.
- It may also appear as a result of small, persistent trauma to the eye, or the use of inappropriately adapted contact lenses.
- There are theories that indicate the influence of a hormonal factor, as well as a pathology with alteration of systemic collagen .
In mild or incipient cases, good vision can be achieved by correcting the refractive defect with glasses or contact lenses.
In more advanced cases it is necessary to use rigid contact lenses to correct irregular astigmatism. The use of these will facilitate the patient a good vision since in this phase the glasses do not provide a correct visual acuity.
In cases in which contact lenses are not tolerated or do not provide good visual acuity, the treatment would be surgical with intrastromal or intracorneal rings or segments whose objective is to regularize the corneal curvature and decrease irregular astigmatism.
In the final phase, when the pathology is very advanced, in the most severe cases the indicated treatment is keratoplasty or corneal transplantation. Currently, transplantation can be performed in many cases by selectively replacing the affected layers of the cornea and conserving healthy tissue.
At any stage, except the final one , a corneal cross-linking can be performed, a procedure that has proven effective in reinforcing the corneal structure and slowing down the evolution of the corneal structure.