Who Is at Risk of Developing Keratoconus Eye Disease?

Hudson Valley Keratoconus Risk Factors

May 23, 2013 @ 09:00 AM — by Richard Gordon
Tagged with: Keratoconus | Eye Care |

Hudson Valley Keratoconus Risk FactorsKeratoconus can greatly affect a person’s ability to see clearly. The condition usually begins in the teenage years, but can affect a person in early childhood. While keratoconus does not commonly affect patients who are in their 30s or 40s, it is still possible for patients of these ages to develop the condition. To determine a patient’s likelihood of developing the condition, Dr. Richard Gordon performs a comprehensive eye examination at his Hudson Valley laser vision center. Through this examination, Dr. Gordon is able to determine whether a patient is at risk of or has keratoconus.

Diagnosing Keratoconus

A skilled, experienced ophthalmologist can diagnose keratoconus by performing a comprehensive eye exam. During this examination, an eye refraction test will be performed, the shape of the cornea will be evaluated, and the curvature of the cornea will be determined. Computerized corneal mapping may be utilized to evaluate the surface and shape of the cornea, and a keratometry may be performed to evaluate the curvature of the cornea.

What Is Keratoconus?

The cornea - the clear, front surface of the eye - normally has a dome shape. If the structure of the cornea begins to thin, the cornea cannot hold its round shape and will bulge outward into a cone shape. This eye condition is called keratoconus.

These changes in the cornea can happen quickly or gradually over a number of years. The majority of patients affected by keratoconus will eventually experience the condition in both eyes. Keratoconus typically affects one eye, and then the other eye. While both eyes may be affected by keratoconus, the severity of the condition may differ between eyes.

Keratoconus Eye Disease Risk Factors

For patients in Hudson Valley, keratoconus risk factors may include:

  • Family history: Patients with a family history of keratoconus have a greater risk of developing the condition.
  • Rubbing the eyes: Vigorous eye rubbing can injure the cornea or even alter the shape of the cornea. Frequently or vigorously rubbing the eyes should be avoided to minimize the risk of damaging the cornea.
  • Certain diseases: Certain genetic conditions or inherited diseases can increase a patient’s risk of developing keratoconus, such as Down syndrome.
  • Asthma: Patients with asthma are at an increased risk of developing keratoconus.
  • Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays: Overexposure to UV rays can increase a patient’s risk of developing keratoconus.
  • Retinal diseases: Certain retinal diseases may cause keratoconus to develop.
  • Allergies: Food allergies, seasonal allergies, as well as other allergies may increase the risk of keratoconus in some patients. Patients with allergies are more likely to rub their eyes than patients who are not affected by allergies, which can lead to the development of keratoconus.
  • Ill-fitting contact lenses: Contact lenses rubbing up against the cornea may result in keratoconus.

Keratoconus Clinical Research Trial

Dr. Richard Gordon is conducting a clinical research trial to study an investigational treatment to stop or slow the progression of keratoconus. Patients who are eighteen years old or older and have been diagnosed with keratoconus may qualify for this trial. The study will last approximately 12 months and will require eight or more visits to Dr. Gordon’s office. During the study, the KXL system, an ultraviolet-A illumination device (UVA light treatment), will be used in conjunction with VibeX eye drops to treat the cornea. The trial is studying whether the treatment will strengthen the cornea to the point of slowing or stopping the progression of keratoconus.

Contact Palisades Laser Eye Center

To learn more about keratoconus, or to participate in the keratoconus clinical research trial, please contact Palisades Laser Eye Center today.