Driving With Keratoconus

Do you have Keratoconus? Then you might be finding it difficult to lead a normal life. Keratoconus can get in the way of almost everything you do, from reading a price tag, counting money, doing simple math on paper, reading your mobile phone, using a computer, watching television…even getting a job and going to work.

All of these activities are part of everyday life and important in their own way. But driving — especially in California — is synonymous with freedom, and if your Keratoconus is preventing you from driving, it can alter your life tremendously. Many people with Keratoconus cannot drive safely, especially at night, and so driving with Keratoconus is always on their mind.

What Is Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that causes your cornea — the clear membrane that covers your eye’s pupil and lens — to weaken and disfigure. Instead of its normal smooth and round shape, the cornea with Keratoconus becomes cone-shaped, or irregularly shaped, making it very difficult to see clearly. The light entering your cornea passes through this oddly shaped cornea, which distorts the light. More severe cases of Keratoconus result in more oddly shaped corneas, and more distorted vision.

Some eye doctors try to treat keratoconus with glasses, but that is difficult to do because light entering the cornea from every different angle requires a different prescription. So in many cases, Glasses will not work at all.

And conventional contact lenses don’t work well either because they are designed for normally shaped eyes with normally shaped corneas. Placing one of these soft or hard contact lenses on a cornea with Keratoconus is a lot like putting a saucer on top of an inverted teacup — it doesn’t fit very well. The result is a poorly fitting contact lens, which causes irritation, redness, eye fatigue and other issues..

Why Driving with Keratoconus Is Difficult

Vision is a critically important part of driving. You need to see where you are going, other traffic, street signs, pedestrians, and more. So if your eyes can’t see everything you need to see, you’re going to have trouble driving. In fact, if you have poor vision, you can’t even get a license at all. In California, the DMV requires that you be able to see 20/40 with both eyes tested together, and 20/40 in one eye and at least, 20/70 in the other eye.

Many of our new patients at the California Keratoconus Center have much worse vision than that, which makes getting a driver license difficult with their previous prescriptions. Many of them are wearing glasses, conventional contact lenses or poorly fitting Scleral contact lenses, all of which can cause eye fatigue.

You’ll know if you are suffering from Eye fatigue if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Sore eyes.
  • Burning or itching eyes
  • Blurred or double vision.
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Headache
  • Increased Light Sensitivity

And any of these symptoms can cause you not to be at your best while driving, which makes driving dangerous. In short, driving with Keratoconus while wearing improperly fitting contact lenses is dangerous.

Driving With Keratoconus At Night

But if driving with Keratoconus during the daytime is dangerous, driving at night with Keratoconus can be absolutely terrifying. Many of our new Keratoconus patients tell us that one of the most significant ways that Keratoconus has affected their lives is their inability to drive at night.

They can see well enough during the day to drive safely, but when driving at night with Keratoconus, they see glare, ghosts and other “aberrations” in their vision that make it difficult to tell the difference between a real headlight and glare that looks like headlights. Street lights, signs, building lights — all of them can cause ghosting and glare that makes discerning physical objects a real and scary challenge.

High Order Aberrations And Night Driving

The vision problems that most people are familiar with are nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. These are collectively called Low Order Aberrations because the anomalies in the eyes that cause these conditions are relatively smooth and uniform.

High Order Aberrations are a type of eye problem that is the result of steep curves on the front and/or back of the cornea, or the lens, or other parts of the eye. The result is a bit like looking through a cut crystal goblet. Light enters and then shoots off in many different directions, causing more severe vision anomalies, such as:

  • Glare/Streaks
  • Starbursts
  • Halos and Rings
  • Night Vision problems
  • Ghost Images
  • Double Vision

However dangerous driving with Keratoconus is, it is even worse when you also suffer from High Order Aberrations.

How To Drive With Keratoconus

At the California Keratoconus Center, patients who we treat with our cKlear Method™ can drive safely, comfortably and with confidence for the first time in years. That’s because our method results in the most comfortable and accurate Scleral Contact lenses possible. Scleral lenses do not sit directly on the cornea like other lenses, but instead vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera — the white part of the eye.

And because Scleral Lenses are designed to remain in a fixed position on the eye, we are able to build a precise prescription into every part of the lens, which means that light entering your eye has passed through a part of the lens specifically designed to correct the vision in that part of your eye.

And remember those High Order Aberrations? Our cKlear Method™ technology allows us to literally “see what you see” which means we can design scleral lenses to all but remove the glare, streaks, starbursts, halos, rings, double vision and ghosting that you have been seeing for years.

All of this makes driving with Keratoconus safer for you than it ever has been before.

Learn How To Drive Again at the California Keratoconus Center

Your life has been altered by your Keratoconus long enough. Make an appointment at the California Keratoconus Center today and be seeing clearly with Keratoconus — and driving with confidence — in less than two weeks from today. Appointments are limited, so please make your appointment today by using our online appointment form or by calling our office at 818-891-6711.

winter dry eyesLiving with Keratoconus