There are many eye disorders and infections which can create tough situations for you in the life. But eye is such a complex and important organ that even a small looking issue can become a major serious disease. One such type of eye-disease in Keratoconus, it is a disorder where the shape of your eyes becomes conical than what it naturally is. Tiny fibres in the eyes help keep your cornea in place but in this case they exhaust somehow resulting in certain complications.
Saksham Gupta’s True Story
A teenager of just 16 years of age was a happy school going boy from Allahbad (now Prayagraj) who fell in trap of Keratoconus. Saksham was sitting in the classroom in 10th standard when he felt irritation in his left eye. When he rubbed his eyes he felt that he was not very comfortable looking from his other eye. He soon realised that he was having blurred vision from his right eye. For some days he continued like that but when the blurred vision increased, he told his parents about it. His parents took him to local eye clinics but no doctor was able to locate the real issue.
They diagnosed him for poor eyesight, told to wear spectacles some even said that it will automatically be corrected. After visiting 5 doctors, he went to an eye specialist from Nainy Ashram. The eye doctor there immediately referred him to AIMS Delhi. He went to AIMS and found out that it was Keratoconus and was a very rare eye disease which happens to one in few millions of people. His treatment then started under Dr. Manu Muraleekrishna, an eye surgeon in AIMS Hospital, Delhi. Saksham was diagnosed with Keratoconus and was asked to undergo an eye surgery C3R (Corneal Collagen Cross-linking) to treat the eyes because his vision was getting blurred at a intense rate.
The surgery was successful but the disease did not end there. The main infection was removed and now is the stage of recovery. Saksham visits AIMS almost every month to get his check-up done and follow-up on his treatment. Dr. Manu says that it would take almost 7-8 years more to get his eye totally into its original shape and sight. He also said that this disease is mostly genetic therefore it may have genetically shifted towards Saksham through someone in the family. Right now he is 18 and doing quite well. His treatment is still going on fine and regular check-ups are on the list. But he was quit lucky to have discovered it at the right time and got the right treatment.
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How is Keratoconus Caused?
It is a progressive, degenerative eye disorder which can be determined by looking at the shape and size of the cornea. Normally cornea is round shaped but in Keratoconus it turns into conical shaped. The cornea bends and focus of light rays fall on the retina. This causes visual problems and difficulty in looking at objects from a distance.
The cause of Keratoconus is said to be genetic component but it’s not scientifically proven. Some common symptoms of Keratoconus include-
- Irritation in the eyes
- Difficulty in seeing at night
- Glare around lights
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Sudden worsening of vision.
Treatment of Keratoconus
It is a very rare disease, so there no as such medication available for the disease. If it is at initial stage eye spectacles can help but gradually Keratoconus can go worse. It is progressive condition where the vision starts deteriorating gradually. However there are three basic treatment measures-
1# Contact Lenses- Hybrid lenses may be prescribed to you if you have mild Keratoconus. They are specially made glasses for this purpose to mask the abnormal shape of the cornea and improve vision. However it does not stop the growth of the eye-disease.
2# Corneal Ring Segments- This is surgical process in which plastic segments are inserted into the cornea to correct the shape of the surface of eye. Corneal segments are reserved for matured cases, where it cannot be controlled through glasses or contact lenses.
3# Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking- This is the only surgery which is proven to stop Keratoconus from increasing. It involves a combination of vitamin B2 and collagen which significantly increase the strength of rigidity of cornea. It is activated through ultraviolet light. In the beginning the top layer of cornea is gently removed. Then collagen and riboflavin are saturated with UV light. This early treatment surgery can slow-down or stop the progress of Keratoconus.
Patients suffering through this disease might find some discomfort during the procedure. Contact lenses are fitted for almost 3 days and antibiotic drops are applied till the eye is healed totally. This normally takes 5-6 weeks depending on the healing speed of the patient’s eye.
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