Keratoconus: the importance of early detection

Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to thin and develop a cone-shaped bulge. In fact, the word keratoconus literally means “cone-shaped cornea.” This disease hinders some of the most routine daily activities such as driving a car, typing on the computer, watching television or even answering a message on the cell phone, since this deformation regularly leads to irregular astigmatism that is often difficult to correct with traditional lenses.

More than 45% of people who have had to undergo a corneal transplant for keratoconus began to show the first symptoms of this disease between the ages of 20 and 291 (Ruiz-Morales et al, 2010), and the main symptoms presented are: blurred vision (84%), itching (pruritus: 60%) and intolerance to light (photophobia: 12%)1.

More recently, recognized Health Institutions such as the Mayo Clinic have established that keratoconus usually begins between 10 and 25 years of age and it can progress slowly for another 10 years.

As the cornea is an extremely soft tissue (similar to the skin), during childhood and youth the risk of progression and worsening of this disease is much higher than in adults, since the rigidity of the cornea increases as it progresses age and that in turn hinders the progression of the disease.

Therefore, it is essential to instill in children and young people the healthy habit of undergoing a comprehensive vision test that includes not only the traditional evaluation of visual acuity (retinoscopy), but also a corneal topography (a non-invasive procedure that allows drawing a “map ” of the surface of the cornea and detect possible irregularities).

Early diagnosis of keratoconus will reduce the speed of disease progression and prevent the pathology from advancing to the point of requiring a corneal transplant.

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