I Have Keratoconus: Can I Still Wear Contact Lenses?

I Have Keratoconus: Can I Still Wear Contact Lenses?

Often beginning around puberty, keratoconus affects about 1 person of every 2000, with risks climbing if someone in your family has the condition. Though the reasons why keratoconus happens aren’t fully understood, when it begins, the shape and thickness of your corneas start to change. 

Changes to your corneas mean changes to your eyesight. Your vision deteriorates as keratoconus advances, affecting both eyes, though one usually suffers more. 

If you’re having issues with your eyes or vision, schedule a visit with the eye care experts at Accent Vision Specialists, one of the largest and most comprehensive eye care centers in the Santa Fe, New Mexico, area. 

Keratoconus basics

The first stage of focus in your eyes happens at your corneas. In fact, light is bent at a greater degree at the corneas than it is at the lenses behind your corneas. Sharp eyesight depends on the shape of your corneas. 

When you have keratoconus, your corneas become thinner and start to protrude in a cone shape. This affects your vision, since light no longer diffracts the same way. Because keratoconus is progressive, your vision changes as your condition advances. 

Symptoms that are common with keratoconus include: 

Your symptom set may change as the disease progresses. Anytime your eyesight deteriorates noticeably over a short period of time, it’s reason to check with an eye care professional. 

Contacts and keratoconus

In the early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses are typically used to correct your loss of visual acuity. As your condition progresses, glasses can’t provide sufficient correction and your treatment may turn to contact lenses. 

Contacts prove to be more versatile and effective at correcting vision issues as keratoconus becomes more pronounced. However, the irregular shape of your cornea can make conventional contacts a poor choice, since they may not stay in place. 

Hard contacts may be uncomfortable when you first wear them, but they can be effective in the earliest stages of keratoconus. Piggybacking a hard contact over a soft contact is another strategy. 

Scleral contacts have a bigger diameter, vaulting over your cornea to cover some of the sclera, or white of your eye. Positionally, this style of contact is more stable, presenting a regular surface to incoming light rays. Scleral contacts are usually more comfortable for a keratoconus patient than other styles. 

So not only can you still wear contacts with keratoconus, but they may become the only type of corrective lens you can use, though you’ll be limited to certain styles and types of contacts. 

Intermediate and advanced stages

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a relatively new treatment that can slow the progress of your condition. If keratoconus progresses beyond a certain point, lenses may become inadequate to correct your vision, and you’ll need a corneal transplant. 

Call Accent Vision Specialists today to book an eye exam to assess your keratoconus condition. Our optometric physicians can start you on a treatment plan to ensure minimal distraction from your eye condition. 

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