General Eye Care

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that affects the shape of the cornea, causing vision problems. If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, you may wonder if wearing contact lenses is still an option for you.

Keep reading to learn if you can wear contact lenses if you have keratoconus!

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped front surface of the eye, becomes thin and begins to bulge outward into a cone-like shape. This abnormal shape causes vision to become blurred and distorted, as the cornea is responsible for refracting light that enters the eye. 

Keratoconus typically begins during the teenage years or early twenties and may progress slowly for ten to twenty years before stabilizing.

How is Keratoconus Treated?

Treatment for keratoconus depends on the severity of the condition. In the early stages, vision can often be corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses.

As the condition progresses, special contact lenses called rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses may be necessary to provide a smooth, even surface for the eye to focus properly. In advanced cases, a corneal transplant may be required to restore vision.

In some cases, corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) may be recommended to strengthen the cornea and slow the progression of keratoconus. This procedure involves applying a special eye drop containing riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the cornea and then exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light.

The combination of riboflavin and UV light creates new bonds between the collagen fibers in the cornea, making it more stable and less likely to bulge out of shape.

Can People With Keratoconus Wear Contact Lenses?

Many people with keratoconus can wear contact lenses successfully. However, the type of contact lens prescribed will depend on the stage and severity of the condition. 

In the early stages, soft contact lenses or glasses may be sufficient to correct vision. As keratoconus progresses, specialized contact lenses such as RGP lenses, scleral lenses, or hybrid lenses may be necessary.

RGP lenses are made of a firm, oxygen-permeable material that helps to maintain the shape of the cornea and improve vision. Scleral lenses are larger than traditional contact lenses and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye, rather than the cornea. 

This provides a stable, smooth surface for the eye to focus. Hybrid lenses have an RGP center surrounded by a soft outer skirt, combining the comfort of a soft lens with the visual acuity of an RGP lens.

Will Contact Lenses Help Keratoconus?

Contact lenses can help to improve vision in people with keratoconus by providing a smooth, even surface for the eye to focus. However, contact lenses do not cure or slow the progression of keratoconus. 

It is important to have regular eye exams to monitor the condition and adjust treatment as necessary. While keratoconus can cause significant vision problems, many people with this condition can successfully wear contact lenses to improve their vision.

Working closely with an eye care professional is essential to determine the best type of contact lens for your individual needs and to monitor the progression of the condition over time. 

With proper treatment and management, people with keratoconus can maintain good vision and continue to enjoy life’s activities.

Do you have keratoconus and are interested in contact lenses? Schedule an appointment at Colorado Eye Consultants in Littleton, CO, today!