Keratoconus

Keratoconus in Santa Barbara

Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition. It is characterized by the normally round, transparent dome covering the front part of the eye, called the cornea, becoming progressively thinner. This causes a cone-like bulge to form, altering the way that light is refracted by the eye and causing vision problems.


Causes of Keratoconus


It’s not precisely known why some people develop keratoconus and others don’t. Nevertheless, there are some factors which could contribute towards it. These include:

  • A family history of the condition

  • Suffering from eye allergies or any other issues that cause inflammation

  • Rubbing your eyes hard over time

  • Certain disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos and Down Syndrome

  • Suffering a trauma to the eye


Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and using proper eye protection could prove integral for keeping keratoconus at bay. Since family history can also increase your likelihood of developing keratoconus, at Santa Barbara Eyecare we offer genetic testing for those that have family members with this condition as these tests can help guide us on future management.

Signs and Symptoms of Keratoconus


Keratoconus usually develops during the teenage years or in the early part of adulthood. However, it can start at any age. It’s also progressive, meaning that the symptoms of the condition will almost certainly worsen over time. Some of the signs of keratoconus include:

  • Glare and halos around lights

  • Increased sensitivity to bright light

  • Difficulty seeing clearly at night

  • Headaches

  • Eye irritation

  • Sudden worsening or clouding of your vision


If you wear glasses, you may find that your prescription changes frequently to reflect the growing bulge. If you usually wear contact lenses, you may start to find that your contact lenses start to fit less snugly, and they may even be uncomfortable. Without treatment, you can expect to see a considerable change in the quality of your vision.

Treating Keratoconus


Despite scientific advances in the treatment of many eye conditions, at the present time there is limited progress in the treatment of keratoconus. In the early stages of the condition, changing your glasses prescription or opting for speciality contact lenses may prevent the condition from worsening.


One of the newest treatments is called corneal cross-linking. This is where laser technology is used to strengthen the fibers that usually hold the cornea in position, preventing it from bulging as much. If this is unsuccessful, you may be recommended to consider corneal implants. This is where healthy donor corneal issue is used to try and improve the shape of the cornea, enabling the patient to experience clearer vision.


Our experienced eyecare team will talk you through the treatment options that are available to you and answer any questions that you may have.



If you are concerned about keratoconus and would like more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Santa Barbara Eyecare in Santa Barbara at (805) 967-9990 or Goleta, California at (805) 451-8180.

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