Keratoconus is NOT a blinding disease. Don’t just take our word for it. The NKCF says:
“Keratoconus, often abbreviated to “KC”, is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop. This results in significant visual impairment”
Rose K manufacturers of the worlds most widely used and successful contact lens for kc say:
No, keratoconus is not a blinding condition, although vision is likely to progressively worsen. Keratoconus causes thinning and distortion of the cornea, which is the clear dome at the front of the eye. The cornea normally has a rounded dome-like shape, but in keratoconus the thinned area bulges forward to produce a cone-like protrusion. This results in distortion and reduced vision, blurred distance vision, glare, light sensitivity and disturbed night vision. However with the use of contact lenses, most keratoconus patients can maintain good functional vision and a normal lifestyle“
SIGNIFICANT VISUAL IMPAIRMENT
is not the same as ‘going blind’. Furthermore even with severe or advanced keratoconus many people can correct their vision with well fitted contact lenses- and that is the crucial difference between KC and other eye diseases such as Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) a group of inherited diseases causing retinal degeneration, Graves disease and diabetes.
“Blindness in the classic sense will not happen. Legal blindness and partial-sightedness/low vision can occur if proper corrective treatment is not given timely” says KCGlobal which is absolutely correct. Most people with KC however are lucky enough to have access to good eye doctors, optom, surgeons, eye hospitals and so on and can get treatment in time.
If anyone tells you that you have keratoconus and that you will ‘go blind’ don’t believe them. If they tell you that expensive invasive surgery is your only hope, they are exaggerating. Only 1 in 4 need a corneal graft- it is ALWAYS the last resort when contact lenses can no longer be worn.
Nowadays we also have cxl collagen cross linking (also known as C3R) and the newer KXL procedures, these are aimed at halting the progression of advancing kc so that long term a corneal graft is not required. However they are not ‘cures’ and you will most likely still need contact lenses, glasses or Intacs fitted to restore good vision. You may have seen adverts claiming that CXL is a cure and your only hope. Certainly it is worth investigating, but it is not suitable for everyone, and it is not a cure.
There are very rare exceptions to this rule, folk who have multiple graft rejections, additional complications and severe reactions to wearing lenses, but we repeat these are RARE. So if you have recently been diagnosed and you are asking the question ‘will I go blind?” the answer is no, that is highly unlikely- but it is really important that you find a good corneal specialist who knows about keratoconus who can give the best options for your eyes and well being.
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