Vision a senior sight journal

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Keratoconus is an uncommon condition in which the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) becomes thin and protrudes.  Keratoconus literally means a cone- shaped cornea.  This abnormal shape can cause serious distortion of vision. Research indicates that keratoconus may be caused by an excess of enzymes that break down the proteins within the corneal surface, causing the cornea to thin and protrude. The genetic inheritance of keratoconus has not clearly been determined.  It appears that it may involve a number of different genes.  Vigorous eye rubbing can contribute to the disease process.  People with keratoconus should avoid rubbing their eyes.  This can sometimes become difficult to avoid due to allergies, which can cause itchy, irritated eyes and are more commonly associated in patients with keratoconus. Blurring and distortion of vision are the earliest symptoms of keratoconus.  Symptoms usually appear in the late teens or early twenties.  The disease will often progress slowly for 10- 20 years, and then stop. In the early stages, vision may be only slightly affected, causing glare, light sensitivity and irritation.  Each eye may be affected differently. If eyeglasses cannot fully correct vision, rigid contact lenses can make a remarkable difference in the clarity of vision.  When contact lenses can no longer improve your vision adequately, a corneal transplant may be necessary.  It is estimated that only 20 % of people with keratoconus will require a corneal transplant. Eye disease can strike at any age.  Many eye diseases do not cause symptoms until the disease has done damage.  Since most blindness is preventable if diagnosed and treated early, regular medical eye exams by an ophthalmologist are very important.




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