Keratoconus is an ocular condition affecting the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. It usually occurs in both eyes and in young adult males; however, it has been seen in both men and women and people of various ages. There is a possible undetermined genetic component to keratoconus, and similarly, it has been shown to be related to excessive amounts of eye-rubbing. It is characterized and usually diagnosed by corneal bulging and irregular amounts of astigmatism; both caused by ectasia or thinning of the central cornea. Vision is best corrected with the use of glasses or rigid gas-permeable contact lenses. Some surgical procedures are being utilized in the hopes of stabilizing the cornea and preventing any further progression. In severe cases, keratoconus can cause scarring with permanent loss of vision or need for corneal transplant.
The diagnosis of keratoconus can be made through a comprehensive eye exam. During the exam, the presence of keratoconus is determined by obtaining proper patient and family history, evaluating the visual ability of each eye and both eyes together (visual acuity), eye skills and coordination, determination of refractive error, and complete health evaluation.
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