Vision and how we see the world is immensely important in our day-to-day life. Whether you’re a student trying to see the whiteboard, a professional football player trying to make a tackle, or a pathologist working in a lab, we all rely on our vision to be successful in our careers and to enjoy all aspects of life. That’s why keeping up with routine eye exams is critical. Just as you regularly visit your physician and dentist, it’s important to schedule your annual eye exam as well!

There are several reasons to visit your eye doctor. You may have noticed a change in your vision, perhaps driving at night may be increasingly difficult, or it may simply be time for your annual eye exam. Regardless, visiting your eye doctor could potentially diagnose an underlying condition that may be causing your vision to decline, such as keratoconus. If not treated, this progressive condition can result in significant visual loss and may lead to a corneal transplant in severe cases. That’s why early detection is key to treating keratoconus and preserving vision!

Join Us in Celebrating World Keratoconus Day! 

Each year on November 10th, we celebrate World Keratoconus Day, an important awareness event sponsored by the National Keratoconus Foundation. This is a day where patients and their families come together with their providers, to raise awareness for this progressive disease. To help celebrate, we’re highlighting members from the Living with KC community who are sharing their stories, as well as discussing the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of progressive keratoconus. Keep reading to learn more!

Keratoconus Voices: Bringing Vision into Focus

Whether you have just been diagnosed with keratoconus or have been living with this condition for many years, we believe personal stories from others living with keratoconus will help guide and inspire you on your own journey. Connecting with a community dedicated to keratoconus can give you a sense of relief to know that you are not alone and that other individuals are going through similar experiences.

This year for World Keratoconus Day, Living with KC is focusing on the importance of early detection and treatment – through the voices of people who have experienced the condition firsthand. Below you can hear from someone living with progressive keratoconus, a parent whose daughter has Down syndrome and keratoconus, physicians who treat the condition, and advocates who are helping to raise awareness. We encourage you to listen to each of these videos to get a better understanding of the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of progressive keratoconus.

 

 

Kenneth Beckman, MD, Columbus Eye Surgery Center

Sarah and Sylvia, Sarah received iLink in 2018

 

Luke & Mat Gerlinger – Luke received iLink in 2020

Kathryn Hatch, MD, Massachusetts Eye & Ear

Clark Chang, OD, Wills Eye Hospital and Glaukos Medical Affairs

 

Jeanne Doherty, Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress

 

Taylor Young, National Keratoconus Foundation

 

Importance of Early Detection and Treatment of Progressive Keratoconus

As various members of the Living with KC have indicated, early detection is critical to treating progressive keratoconus and preserving vision! Knowing if you are at an increased risk of developing the condition, or being aware of the signs and symptoms can help identify the condition early. While the exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, it is believed that genetics, the environment, and the endocrine system all play a role.[1] In fact, people with a parent, sibling, or child with keratoconus have a 15 to 67 times higher risk of developing corneal ectasia compared to patients with no affected relatives.[2][3]

Aside from testing for keratoconus during a routine eye exam, there are key signs and symptoms to watch for that may indicate you or a loved one are living with this condition. Those symptoms include:  blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions, headaches and light sensitivity, and vision that cannot be corrected with glasses. If caught early enough, your physician may suggest specialty contact lenses and may recommend iLink FDA-approved cross-linking for progressive keratoconus. iLink is the only available treatment option that is proven to be safe and effective in slowing or halting the progression of keratoconus to help preserve vision.

While everyone’s experience is different, undergoing iLink FDA-approved cross-linking to slow or halt the progression of your keratoconus has been shown to help people better tolerate contact lenses and ultimately improve vision.[4][5] For more information on progressive keratoconus and available treatment options, or to hear more Keratoconus Journeys, visit our website. Also, don’t forget to follow Living with KC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

[1] http://www.nkcf.org/about-keratoconus/what-causes-keratoconus/

[2] Fecarotta CM, Huang WW. Pediatric genetic disease of the cornea. J Pediatr Genet. 2014;3(4):195–207. doi:10.3233/PGE-14102

[3] Wang Y, Rabinowitz YS, Rotter JI, Yang H. Genetic epidemiological study of keratoconus: evidence for major gene determination. Am J Med Genet. 2000;93(5):403–409

[4] 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.

[5] Baudin, F., Chemaly, A., Arnould, L., Barrénéchea, E., Lestable, L., Bron, A. M., & Creuzot-Garcher, C. (2021). Quality-of-Life Improvement After Scleral Lens Fitting in Patients With Keratoconus. Eye & contact lens, 47(9), 520–525.

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