General Eye Care

Keratoconus is a condition that transforms the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye, into a cone shape due to thinning and bulging. This alteration disrupts proper light focusing onto the retina, leading to blurry and distorted vision, among many other symptoms.

Keep reading to learn if keratoconus can cause dry eye symptoms!

What is Keratoconus and How Does it Affect the Eyes?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that causes the cornea, the clear dome-like structure at the front of the eye, to thin and gradually bulge into a cone-like shape. This structural change alters the cornea’s ability to focus light correctly onto the retina, causing blurry and distorted vision.

As keratoconus advances, many people experience increased astigmatism and nearsightedness. The condition typically affects both eyes but may progress differently in each eye. 

Regular eye exams are essential for early detection and appropriate management of keratoconus to preserve vision and improve the quality of life for those affected by the condition.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Although symptoms can vary from person to person and depend on the severity of the condition, common symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light 
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
  • The appearance of ghosting or multiple images

Those with keratoconus may also experience eye strain, irritation, and frequent eye rubbing. As the condition progresses, the cornea’s irregular shape may cause halos around lights and decreased night vision. 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to visit your eye doctor at Colorado Eye Consultants for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and appropriate management of keratoconus are important to preserve vision and prevent further deterioration.

Is There a Link Between Keratoconus and Dry Eye?

While keratoconus primarily affects the cornea’s shape and vision, there is a potential link between keratoconus and dry eye symptoms. The irregular corneal surface from keratoconus can disrupt the normal tear film distribution, reducing tear stability and increasing evaporation. 

As a consequence, your eyes may experience insufficient lubrication, causing dry eye symptoms like eye discomfort, burning, itching, and redness. Some treatments for keratoconus, such as rigid gas-permeable contact lenses, can exacerbate dry eye symptoms due to reduced oxygen flow to the cornea.

Additionally, constant eye rubbing, common in keratoconus patients seeking clearer vision, can further aggravate dry eye. Addressing both conditions is crucial for optimal eye health. 

A comprehensive eye examination can help determine the extent of keratoconus and identify any underlying dry eye issues. With proper management, including lubricating eye drops, specialty contact lenses, or surgical interventions, patients can find relief from dry eye symptoms while preserving their vision and overall eye health.

What are the Treatments For Managing Dry Eye Symptoms in Keratoconus?

Managing dry eye symptoms in keratoconus typically involves a combination of treatments to address tear film stability and lubrication. Artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can help alleviate dryness and discomfort. 

Scleral lenses, designed to vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, can retain moisture and improve tear distribution. Punctal plugs may be used to block tear drainage, preserving natural tears on the ocular surface. 

Additionally, lifestyle changes like staying hydrated, avoiding dry environments, and taking breaks during digital device use can complement treatment efforts for more effective management of dry eye symptoms in keratoconus patients.

Are you experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome or keratoconus? Schedule an appointment at Colorado Eye Consultants in Littleton, CO, today!