Keratoconus is an eye disease that affects the cornea and often progresses with age. In its early stages, the condition can be treated with glasses. However, as it develops, vision gets increasingly worse. Keratoconus symptoms often appear when a child reaches their teenage years. Because the disease can result in loss of vision for your child, it is important to remain aware of the warning signs of the condition.
Problems in only one eye: Keratoconus generally affects both eyes, but it is possible for the disease to affect one eye more than the other. Additionally, symptoms in each eye can vary, meaning your teen may be experiencing a difference in vision between the two eyes. If you notice complaints of blurred vision or sensitivity in just one eye, it may be time to schedule a consultation.
Distorted vision: Blurry vision is a symptom of keratoconus, but it is often mistaken for a simple refractive error. However, if your teen is also experiencing distorted vision — for example, if straight lines or objects appear curved — keratoconus may be the culprit. Blurry vision worsens with the progression of the disease, so it may be a warning sign if your teen complains that their vision is getting worse over time.
Low tolerance for contact lenses: Keratoconus typically takes years to progress, but some patients may experience a more rapid progression of the disease and its associated symptoms. In late-stage keratoconus, glasses and contact lenses are not enough to improve vision; certain contact lenses, in particular, may not be well tolerated over long periods of time.
Keratoconus Risk Factors
In addition to the warning signs, parents should also be aware of the factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing keratoconus.
Allergies: Allergies can cause eye itchiness, inflammation, and irritation, which can lead to aggressive eye rubbing. In corneas that are already in a weakened state, eye rubbing can cause further damage, increasing the risk of keratoconus.
Certain environments: Some environments, such as dusty or extremely dry places, can lead to irritated eyes. Individuals living in these environments may be at an increased risk of the eye disease.
Pre-existing conditions: Some medical conditions may put you at risk of keratoconus. These may include hay fever and asthma.
Family history of keratoconus: If the disease runs in your family, your teen is at a higher risk for keratoconus.
Keratoconus Treatment in Hoffman Estates
If you are worried that your teen is experiencing symptoms of keratoconus, rest assured that treatment is available at Mack Eye Center. Here, our dedicated doctors and staff use advanced treatments to improve vision and quality of life for keratoconus patients. To book a consultation, call our office today or schedule an appointment online.