Eye conditions come in various forms. Due to technology advancement, most of these conditions are easy to correct. One of the ways to do this is by using laser-assisted-insitu-keratomileusis, better known as LASIK eye surgery. This is a simple procedure that can be done in 10 minutes with negligible side effects.

Conditions that can be treated using laser eye surgery are;
1. Myopia which is short sightedness.
2. Hyperopia which is long sightedness
3. Astigmatism which is the curving of the cornea.

Eye conditions are not limited to these three, there is a lesser known but prevalent eye condition known as keratoconus.

The cornea, which is the clear central part of the eye is what we see through. In normal circumstances, this is shaped like a ball. Sometimes due to the structure not being strong enough, the cornea bulges out and forms the shape of a cone. When this happens, the condition is known as keratoconus.

What causes this?

Collagen which is protein, helps to keep your cornea in place. When this protein is insufficient or weak, the cornea cannot hold its shape and starts to move outward causing the cone shape.

It has been found to be a genetic condition and occurs mostly in people with allergic conditions. You also put yourself at risk if you rub your eyes chronically though there are some cases which have no known cause.

This condition usually begins during the teenage years. The chances of developing it reduce and even dwindle the older you get.

The conditions' symptoms can begin to show suddenly or progressively over a number of years and usually starts in one eye but will eventually affect both.

How is it diagnosed?
As the cornea changes shape, it affects vision in two ways, firstly, the smooth surface will instead become wavy. This is known as irregular astigmatism. Secondly, the movement of the cornea outward causes near sightedness- faraway objects will look like a blur.

The symptoms to look out for include;
1. Glares or halos at night.
2. Blurred vision
3. Streaking of lights.
4. Change of vision in one eye.
5. Seeing 'ghost' images.

Keratoconus Treatment.

Treatment of this condition usually starts with glasses or corrective lenses. Due to the progressive nature of this condition, the probability is that you will eventually need to seek other treatments to strengthen the cornea. Keratoconus treatment is dependent on the severity and speed of progression of the condition. For some, the cornea will eventually become scarred and using contact lenses will become impossible. For people with such cases, keratoconus treatment will involve surgery.

Eye surgery for Keratoconus treatment.
Laser eye surgery is usually not recommended for people diagnosed with keratoconus as it could further weaken the cornea.

If you have extreme thinning of the cornea, scarring or poor vision with the strongest prescription, surgery may be required.

There are several options available when it comes to laser eye surgery (if you live in Canada, we recommend those clinics in Ontario), and surgeon will opt for one depending on your particular case.

1. Corneal inserts.
The doctor will insert 2 clear plastic inserts to flatten your cornea while supporting its shape. This will improve your vision and is reversible. They can remove the inserts.

2. Keratoplasty.
When extreme scarring happens a corneal transplant may be necessary. There are different forms of keratoplasty.

a. Lamellar keratoplasty.
This is a partial-thickness transplant where only a part of your corneas' surface is replaced.
b. Penetrating keratoplasty. The most common form of keratoconus treatment is penetrating keratoplasty. The entire cornea is removed and replaced with donor tissue.
c. Deep anterior lamellar kerotoplasty. This is meant to reduce the risk of rejection after a full-thickness transplant.

Even after surgery, you will be required to keep wearing contact lenses for clear vision.