While keratoconus does not usually lead to total vision loss, those with this condition are often considered legally blind. The team at Mittleman Eye discusses how keratoconus may affect your quality of life.
In keratoconus, the normally round cornea thins and develops a bulge. While the disease can take years to progress, in some people progression occurs quite quickly. Swelling may occur in the cornea, resulting in scarring. This scar tissue causes more distortion in the visual field.
In its early stages, eyeglasses can correct the visual abnormalities caused by keratoconus. Later, rigid contact lenses are necessary.
Keratoconus symptoms may appear in a person’s late teens and early 20s. Symptoms may include:
- Bright light sensitivity
- Eye irritation, such as swelling and redness
- Glare and halos around lights
- Night vision issues
Keratoconus and Quality of Life
Because keratoconus strikes so many people at a young age, it affects their emotional well-being more than eye diseases common in older patients. Their plans for the future differ from contemporaries because of their visual issues. Reading becomes difficult, affecting schoolwork and job prospects.
These patients may struggle with depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. While their peers are graduating from school, starting careers, marrying and having children, many keratoconus patients feel they are missing out due to their disease.
The ability to drive significantly affects many people’s quality of life. Losing the ability to drive due to keratoconus — which is not a given — may result in having to change residences and limit social life and employment opportunities.
Then there’s the impact of daily discomfort on quality of life. A quality of life assessment using the Keratoconus Outcomes Research Questionnaire (KORQ) published in June 2021 surveyed 100 patients from a Brazilian referral eye hospital. The median age was 27. The disease had progressed beyond the early stages for most of the patients. More than 2/3 of the patients, or 67%, reported itching eyes, but just 31% were using medication.
On a positive note, effective keratoconus management and treatment can greatly improve the quality of life for patients.
Contact Mittleman Eye
Early detection of keratoconus not only preserves vision but can make a great difference in your quality of life. If you or a family member are experiencing any of the symptoms of keratoconus, contact the doctors at Mittleman Eye immediately. A routine eye exam can diagnose the disease. Patients who wish to make an appointment can schedule one directly online or call or text (561) 500-2020.