6 Common Problems That Cause Distortion of the Cornea and Can Be Treated Early
The job of the cornea is to help the eye focus optimally. If you are experiencing distorted or blurred vision, it can be because there is something wrong with one or both of your corneas. The good news is that you don’t need to settle for a distorted or otherwise reduced vision for long. Most corneal conditions can be treated early and effectively with the right contact lenses. At Miami Contact Lens Institute, we use custom specialty contact lenses to treat a range of different conditions, including common corneal problems. If you have recently found yourself experiencing any of the following six conditions, call us to schedule an appointment.
- Dry eye syndrome:
Everyone experiences dry eyes at some point, whether due to environmental factors, allergies, or illness. If you find yourself struggling with chronic dry eyes, though, merely waiting out the cycle isn’t an option. You may be taking a medication that will cause dry eyes for as long as you continue taking it, or you may just be experiencing more difficulty with tear production as you get older (a common problem). Scleral lenses, a type of specialty contact lenses that we regularly design at Miami Contact Lens Institute, can offer relief. These lenses rest on the conjunctiva overlying the sclera (the white of the eye), rather than on the surface of the cornea itself. Not only does this design eliminate lens-to-cornea contact, which can be extremely uncomfortable for those with chronic dry eyes, but it also creates a “vault” of tears between the eye and the surface of the lens. This creates a tear reservoir which essentially hydrates the ocular surface during the entire time that the lens is worn. This factor, along with the oxygen-permeable design of the lenses, helps keep the eyes hydrated and healthy.
- Keratoconus is a condition in which the normally dome-shaped cornea begins to thin and bulge outward in a cone-like shape. Symptoms include blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light and can appear as early as puberty or even earlier at times. The irregularity of the cornea shape makes keratoconus difficult to treat with standard contact lenses or spectacles. Scleral lenses, since they do not necessitate any contact between the lens and the corneal surface, provide enhanced comfort and more successful vision correction.
Related post: Am I a Good Candidate for Scleral Contact Lenses?
- Post-surgical ectasia: Similar to keratoconus (but with a different origin) is post-surgical ectasia. If you have recently gone through LASIK or any other type refractive eye surgery, you might enjoy vision improvement. However, you may also experience post-surgical ectasia. The process behind LASIK inherently thins your corneal tissue, which can sometimes lead to symptoms that mimic keratoconus. As with keratoconus, post-surgical ectasia causes distorted vision, including halos, starbursts, or glare around bright objects. Also, as with keratoconus, those who have post-surgical ectasia can receive significant vision improvement with scleral lenses.
- Myopia 5. Hyperopia, and 6. Astigmatism: These three conditions, though all unique, are often linked together because they all fall into the category of “refractive errors.” In each condition, the shape of the cornea affects how light coming into the eye focuses on the retina. If the cornea is irregularly shaped, it will struggle to focus light directly onto the retina, which will cause varying types of distorted vision. In myopia (also known as short-sightedness) the cornea focuses light in front of the retina rather than onto it, which causes objects in the distance to appear blurry. Hyperopia (far-sightedness) is the opposite, focusing light behind the retina rather than onto it; it causes nearby objects to appear blurry. Astigmatism is where the cornea doesn’t focus light evenly on the retina, which can result in blurred vision regardless of whether objects are close by or far away. (Another refractive error, presbyopia, is mostly just age-associated far-sightedness.)
Related Post: Hyperopia and Myopia: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
The problem, in all of these conditions, is the shape and refraction of the cornea. A special type of contact lens treatment called orthokeratology (or “ortho-k”) can help. Ortho-k lenses are contact lenses that you wear overnight, and that gradually reshape the surface of the cornea while you sleep. While this treatment is not permanent—you will need to wear the lenses every night for best effects—it can allow clear vision throughout the day without the need for glasses or contact lenses.Related Post: Am I a Good Candidate for Ortho-K Lenses?
At Miami Contact Lens Institute, we would be happy to share more information about any of these treatments. Contact us today for a consultation.