There are many misunderstandings surrounding the management of keratoconus. Many individuals with KC fall into patterns that could actually be making their condition worse, or at the very least causing unnecessary discomfort. Are you guilty of any of these?
The first mistake to avoid is eye-rubbing. It is a common habit, characterized by rubbing eyes with the knuckles (instead of fingertips) for an extended amount of time. Many people with eye allergies rub their eyes to seek some relief, however in an individual with KC, it can aggravate and make the disease worse. Talk to your doctor about medications that might provide relief from allergies if you find you are tempted to rub your itchy eyes.
Dr. Francis Price, MD has been treating KC patients for more than 35 years. He notes, “In my experience, eye-rubbing is often associated with KC. Continued eye-rubbing can negate the effects of both corneal transplants and crosslinking and, importantly, it is the one thing people can change (by not rubbing) that can influence the progression of the disease.”
INFREQUENT DOCTOR VISITS:
Something that individuals with KC should do, but often put off, is visiting their eye doctor regularly. KC is a progressive disease: your eyes need to be consistently monitored to ensure that your vision is the best it can be. Your prescription for contact lenses or eyeglasses may need to be updated to account for vision changes. Even if you have undergone cross-linking, you need to continue to return to your eye doctor as advised.
INCORRECT CONTACT LENS CARE:
A final tip is to take proper care of your contact lenses. Most people with KC wear contact lenses on a daily basis, so it is important that they follow proper lens care. Lack of care, or improper use of supplies for your lenses can cause keratitis (inflammation of the cornea). Keratitis is caused by germs, and these germs can invade and infect your eye when lenses are worn past their replacement date or not cleaning them properly.
Some tips for caring for your lenses properly are:
Dr. Francis Price, MD, is the founder and president of the Cornea Research Foundation of America and the founder of Price Vision Group, a specialty ophthalmic practice located in Indianapolis. Visit pricevisiongroup.com for more info.