Do you have blurry vision and not know why? You’re not alone. Millions of people suffer with blurry vision and other vision problems and either don’t or can’t get to an eye doctor who can properly diagnose their problem. Steph Curry, maybe one of the best basketball players of all time, found himself in that situation. He announced recently (as shown in this local ABC TV news report) that he has been playing with Keratoconus (“KC” for short), a somewhat uncommon eye condition. He was finally diagnosed in 2019, after 10 years in the NBA.
Yes, Steph Curry has Keratoconus, a progressive eye condition that causes blurry vision, double vision, halos, dry eyes, light sensitivity and other problems. How he managed to sink so many baskets speaks more to his skill and dedication than anything. And now he is certain to get even better. But what exactly is Keratoconus? What causes it? How is it treated? Let’s answer those questions and more.
What Is Keratoconus
Your eye has many parts. Your cornea is a transparent layer that forms the outer surface of the eye. Behind that is the eye’s lens. Light passes through them both in order to reach the retina at the back of the eye. Keratoconus is caused by a weakness in the cornea that causes the cornea to bulge and become cone-shaped (that’s the “conus” part of the condition’s name).
But this cone shape is not usually smooth or symmetrical. So rather than imagining a smooth cone, imagine a cone with bumps and valleys. That causes the light that passes through it to bend in unpredictable ways, which causes many of the symptoms listed above.
What Causes Keratoconus?
A single cause has not been found for Keratoconus, but there are several contributing factors, including genetics, frequent rubbing of the eyes, and allergies.
Who Has Keratoconus?
- It was once thought that about one in 2000 people had Keratoconus, but our more advanced diagnostic techniques now show that it may be as many as one in 400 people.
- Among those with Down Syndrome, as many as 15% may have KC.
- About 60% of people with KC are males, and 40% females.
- KC is usually diagnosed in your 20’s but can begin at any time.
- Children of those with KC have a higher chance of having KC themselves.
Many Optometrists not trained in properly identifying or treating Keratoconus might try to treat this condition with glasses or conventional contact lenses. This only works in very mild cases of Keratoconus, and often frustrates Keratoconus patients. Glasses don’t work because glasses do not move when the eyes move. And conventional contacts don’t work because they are smooth and symmetrical, so they don’t fit properly or comfortably on an a cone-shaped, uneven eye with KC.
Some Keratoconus is so bad that it requires actual surgery, usually a corneal graft, to replace the cornea. Other surgeries include “Intacs” which are small pieces of plastic which help to reshape the cornea. And there is one outpatient surgical procedure, called Corneal Crosslinking, that is effectively used to halt the progression of Keratoconus.
But the best keratoconus treatment, in most cases, is with the use of Scleral Contact Lenses. Unlike regular contact lenses, which rest on the eye, these specialized contact lenses actually “vault” over the entire cornea and extend all the way to the whites of your eyes — the part called the “Sclera.”
Steph Curry’s Keratoconus treatment are these scleral lenses. But designing and fitting these contact lenses is not easy, and only the very latest high tech equipment is required to create a prescription for “the Perfect Kerataconus Contact Lens” for you.
Dr. Barry Leonard Has Keratoconus
My name is Dr. Barry Leonard, and I am one of the most experienced and well known Keratoconus Doctors in the country. What drives my passion for treating Keratoconus? It’s because I actually have Keratoconus. So not only do I treat patients with Keratoconus, I am a patient, too. I wear these scleral contact lenses I just described, just like Steph Curry does, and I can see perfectly clearly and with total comfort.
Do You Have Keratoconus, Too?
So do you have KC, too? Here are some of the symptoms of Keratoconus and questions to ask yourself:
- Does your eyeglass prescription change frequently? KC is a progressive disease, causing your eyes to change over time.
- Do you have trouble seeing at night? Most KC sufferers do.
- Do you see Halos? Circles around light sources are common with Keratoconus sufferers.
- Are you sensitive to bright light?
- Do your contact lenses cause you pain and discomfort? Regular contact lenses seldom work for those with Keratoconus.
- Frequent headaches are also a symptom of KC.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, then you need to be seen by a Keratoconus Specialist, like Steph Curry did. If you live anywhere near the Los Angeles area, make a Keratoconus screening appointment with me, Dr. Barry Leonard, or call my office at 818-891-6711. I understand what you’re going through because I’ve been through it, too, and I’m looking forward to helping you see clearly and comfortably.