Receiving a keratoconus diagnosis may be difficult to wrap your head around, especially if you’re thinking about how it will affect your overall quality of life. However, contrary to what some may believe or may be worried about, those who are living with progressive keratoconus can still enjoy many of their favorite hobbies. If you spend your weekends playing on the football field or binge-watching a new Netflix series, your condition shouldn’t hold you back from doing what you love. If progressive keratoconus is treated early with the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure to slow or halt the progression of the condition, and then vision is corrected with prescription lenses, individuals can continue to participate in their favorite activities without having to worry about their condition further impacting their lives.
Below, we’re sharing tips to enjoy your favorite hobbies, such as reading, playing sports, and traveling, while living with keratoconus, as well as some alternative options in case you want to give your eyes a break.
Tips for the Bookworm
For those who love to read, it may seem difficult to pick up a book and try to make out the small words on a page while living with keratoconus or in the immediate recovery time after iLink®. However, your condition doesn’t mean that you need to give up your love of reading. To help, we’re sharing some examples of how books, magazines, and newspapers can still be enjoyed with keratoconus.
- Listen to an Audiobook: Whether you’re reading for pleasure, for school, or for work, an audiobook can be just as relaxing as reading. If you’re an avid reader, allow yourself to curl up on the couch with the right audiobook and transport your mind elsewhere, while giving your eyes a rest. Who knows – you may even end up catching up on some much-needed sleep!
- Try a Podcast: Another great alternative to reading is listening to podcasts. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the mood for something funny, serious, scary, or dramatic – there are countless options to choose from. Still unsure what to listen to? Ask a friend for a recommendation!
- Watch the Movie: If you have a favorite book, or there’s one on your list that you’ve been meaning to read for a while, check to see if it’s also a movie! Although the movie is not always the same as the book, it’s still a great way to make progress on your reading list, without having to strain your eyes to read the words on a page.
Tips for the Athlete
Playing sports can be a great way to stay healthy, be competitive, spend time with family and friends, or even release energy. If you’ve been diagnosed with keratoconus, you may be wondering if you can continue to maintain an active lifestyle and how your condition could impact your performance. The good news is that keratoconus won’t necessarily impact your sports performance or prevent you from playing competitively if you’ve found a treatment that is right for you. After all, NBA star Steph Curry has keratoconus, but it hasn’t stopped him from winning three NBA championships! Don’t worry, it is possible to be active while safely managing your eye condition – but you must prioritize taking the appropriate steps to protect yourself.
- Wear Protective Eye Equipment: When playing sports, the best eye protection you can use are glasses with shatterproof plastic, also known as polycarbonate lenses. In addition, depending on the sport you play, you may also need eye goggles, face shields, and visors to help protect your eyes. If you’re unsure what you need, ask your doctor for their recommendation.
- Talk to Your Teammates: If you’re comfortable opening up, you might decide to share your condition with your teammates and/or coaches. Not only will this provide you with some much-needed support on the field, but it will also be beneficial to have them in the know in case of an eye-related emergency. Your teammates may also help to remind you to wear your protective eye equipment!
- Take a Break: If at any point your eyes feel tired, your contacts or glasses become uncomfortable, or you notice any changes to your vision, make sure to play it safe and contact your doctor. It’s smart not to push yourself if something doesn’t feel right.
Tips for the Adventurer
Daydreaming of a long-awaited tropical vacation? Keratoconus shouldn’t get in the way of planning a fun and relaxing trip. Although it may require packing more than you normally would or doing additional research on your travel destination, your eye health and safety should always be a top priority. If you’re traveling for work or pleasure, below are some ways that you can prioritize your eye health.
- Pack Your Eye Care Necessities: Before you leave, make a packing list that includes all of your eye care essentials. Depending on where you’re traveling to, and if you’re planning to drive at night, you may opt to bring extra contacts, contact solution, spare glasses, glasses or contact case, eye drops, and/or sunglasses. As you’re packing, check your list to make sure you have everything!
- Remember to Take Your Medications: It’s important to remember your medications, such as your daily eye drops for dry eye. To help ensure that you don’t forget, try leaving them out on your bathroom counter as a reminder, or if necessary, set an alarm on your phone to serve as a secondary reminder.
- Pay Attention to Warning Signs: While you’re away, be aware of any changes to your eyes, vision, or signs of an infection. If you notice any of these warning signs, call your doctor. If you’re traveling internationally and you can’t get in touch with your doctor, make sure to visit a local hospital or physician’s office for an examination.
Don’t Let Your Keratoconus Hold You Back
Whether you love reading, playing sports, traveling, or something else entirely, nothing should get in the way of your favorite pastimes, including your keratoconus. By taking certain precautions or making minor adjustments to your routine, it’s still possible to enjoy all of the activities you love. It may even give you a chance to try something new or in a different way than before.
If you have questions about what you can and can’t do with your condition, it’s best to discuss them with your doctor. For more information on keratoconus, and to hear from others, visit our website and follow Living with KC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
 Kreps, E. O., Pesudovs, K., Claerhout, I., & Koppen, C. (2021). Mini-Scleral Lenses Improve Vision-Related Quality of Life in Keratoconus. Cornea, 40(7), 859–864.
 Baudin, F., Chemaly, et al. (2021). Quality-of-Life Improvement After Scleral Lens Fitting in Patients With Keratoconus. Eye & contact lens, 47(9), 520–525.