How Quick Can Keratoconus Progress?

Keratoconus is an eye disorder that affects the shape and thickness of your cornea. Patients with keratoconus often have a cone-like corneal shape that causes various vision problems, including blurry vision. It usually affects both eyes, though, for some patients, it may only affect one eye. The condition can progress slowly for ten years or even longer, or progress quickly. In the early stages, you can correct your vision problems with contact lenses or glasses. However, over time, you will need more extensive treatment.

Our keratoconus specialist, Dr. Fred Mattioli, at Mattioli Vision Professionals helps to treat corneal disease for his patients throughout Houston, TX. We don’t know for sure why people get keratoconus. For some of our patients, it appears to be genetic. While for others, it has been associated with eye allergies or excessive eye rubbing. Most patients start experiencing symptoms in their late teens or early 20s and, their symptoms slowly worsen for 10 – 20 years.

Symptoms of keratoconus

Some symptoms of keratoconus may change as the disease progresses. These signs include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Worsening distance vision over time
  • The need for frequent prescription changes

At Mattioli Vision Professionals, we offer eye exams that can determine if you have an eye disorder, such as keratoconus.

How fast does keratoconus progress?

Ultimately, the progression of keratoconus is unpredictable. This can happen quickly or over a period of several years. It usually begins around puberty and progresses fastest up till you turn 25. The younger someone is at their diagnosis, the more likely they will experience fast progression. At Mattioli Vision Professionals, we will closely evaluate a patient’s vision several times a year to ensure it isn’t rapidly worsening. However, it is very hard for Dr. Mattioli to predict progression rates.

Diagnosing keratoconus

To diagnose keratoconus, Dr. Mattioli will review your medical and family history, and conduct an eye exam. He may recommend tests to determine the shape of your cornea. Some tests used to diagnose keratoconus include:

  1. Computerized corneal mapping: This special photographic test records images that help create a shape map of your cornea. It can also measure your cornea’s thickness.

  2. Eye refraction: This measures your eyes to check for vision problems.
  3. Keratometry: Keratometry focuses a circle of light on your cornea and measures its reflection to find its shape.
  4. Slit-lamp examination: During this test, he will place a vertical beam of light on the surface of your eye and use a microscope to look at it closely. This allows him to see the shape of your cornea.

Keratoconus treatment

At Mattioli Vision Professionals, we use different advanced techniques to combat the effects of keratoconus and to help our patients to restore their vision. When you are diagnosed with it, and it has progressed enough to need treatment, we can discuss treatment options, including:

  1. Corneal cross-linking: This outpatient surgery uses riboflavin eye drops with UV light to thicken the cornea.
  2. Corneal transplant: A corneal transplant will replace the entire cornea with donor tissue.

Learn more about how to treat keratoconus

While keratoconus can cause vision loss when left untreated, it can be treated by Dr. Fred Mattioli, who has years of experience at Mattioli Vision Professionals. When you’ve noticed signs or symptoms of keratoconus such as blurry vision, reach out to our Houston, TX office and schedule a consultation today. We proudly serve West University, River Oaks, Sugar Land, and Woodlands areas.