Master Eye Associates

Austin Eye Care Center Treats Keratoconus with New Techniques

Master Eye Associates of Austin’s Dr. J. R. Lacey discusses Keratoconus symptoms and basic treatment


Austin, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/21/2014 --Dr. J. R. Lacey of Central Austin’s Master Eye Associates has provided a breakdown of the symptoms and treatment of keratoconus, a non-inflammatory eye disease, for those seeking information or heading into treatment. Keratoconus causes a person’s dome-like cornea to progressively thin. This results in the development of a cone-like bulge, typically in the cornea’s inferior section. This disease is normally found in both eyes, though one eye experiences more severe symptoms, with thinning most pronounced at the cone apex. The distorted cone causes significant irregular astigmatism, since the cornea’s normally round shape allows focusing and refraction which provides proper sight. Corneal abnormalities like keratoconus affect the way sufferers see and can significantly impact quality of life.

Early stage keratoconus patients report slight loss of focus and vision distortion with an occasional sensitivity to bright light. The disease takes years to develop, with the early stages of symptom appearance occurring between ages 13 and 30. The following 20 years sees a gradual worsening which culminates in a plateau of static symptoms. The origin of keratoconus in patients is unknown, though it is a fairly common disease. New corneal topographic technology, like the Orbscan II, has made it easier to diagnose early stage keratoconus and enable treatment before the onset of the period of corneal deterioration. Patients undergoing LASIK surgery pre-testing for keratoconus have revealed the extent for this disorder in the general public. Though the cause remains obscure, most evidence points to the likelihood for the development of the disease being inherited.

In addition to its association with many other conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa, blue sclera, Down syndrome, Addison disease and Marfan syndrome, keratoconus is also connected to eye rubbing, which is sometimes considered a cause of the disorder. Studies have shown that as many as 70% of keratoconus patients were chronic eye rubbers, due to contact lens irritation or even dry eyes. The most effective way to diagnose early stage keratoconus is via corneal mapping, or video keratography. This may be performed on patients reporting blurry vision, or discomfort associated with bright light or overly tired, irritated eyes. In early stage scenarios, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct the mild nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism caused by keratoconus. As the eye disorder progresses and the cornea continues to thin and change shape, rigid gas-permeable contact lenses can be prescribed to correct vision more adequately. The contact lenses must be carefully prescribed and fitted by a skilled, experienced optometrist. Frequent check-ups and lens changes may be needed to achieve and maintain good vision. Most medical insurance pays for these special lenses because the contacts become a medical necessity. Advanced keratoconus causes blurred vision that cannot be adequately corrected with glasses or soft contacts in most cases.

About Master Eye Associates
The eye care doctors at Master Eye Associates in Central Austin are very experienced and skilled in treating keratoconus patients, using both the Orbscan IIz and the Humphrey corneal topographer in diagnosing the extent of the keratoconus and prescribing computer designed contact lenses. Should the cornea become too distorted, the use of intrastromal corneal rings (Intacs) may be advised to stabilize the protrusion and attempt rounding out the corneal irregularities. A small percent of corneal surgeons experienced and certified in this procedure work with Master Eye Associates doctors on these and other serious corneal conditions.

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