The characteristics of keratoconus have been known for at least 200 years, but the specific causes are still undetermined. Several theories have been proposed. One theory is that keratoconus is genetic in origin but only about 7-15% of patients have other family members with the disease. Another view holds that keratoconus is secondary to some disease process. While there are many theories, research into keratoconus continues. Today, the incidence of keratoconus is about 2 to 3 people per 1000 population.
Dr. Erika Morrow completed her Master’s Degree in Vision Science concurrently with her Doctorate of Optometry. Dr. Morrow researched Keratoconus and atopic disease (chronic allergy condition) and the research suggested that those that have keratoconus also have chronic allergy symptoms including sneezing, tearing, and itchy eyes. There is a strong correlation between those that have keratoconus and rub their eyes. It is very common that someone with keratoconus will admit to rubbing their eyes often and the disease is worse in the eye on the side of their dominant hand. For instance, the condition is often worse in the right eye, if the patient is right handed. Eye rubbing causes the cornea to become weak and it begins to get thin and steepens, resulting in keratoconus.
Every patient with keratoconus should do everything they can to limit all eye rubbing. Dr. Morrow recommends using cold compresses when the eyes feel itchy, keep the eyes hydrated with a branded moisture drop (Optase Intense Drops is Dr. Morrow’s favorite), and to use Pataday Extra Strength every morning in each eye. It is very important to stop rubbing your eyes to prevent progression of the condition.
Another condition that is often present in those with keratoconus is sleep apnea. Many patients that have keratoconus admit to snoring at night. Dr. Morrow refers all patients that know they snore to a local Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist for evaluation and treatment.
If you need to reach Dr. Morrow after business hours please call our main office at 912-483-6600. Our voicemail will prompt you to dial #1 for emergencies which will transfer your call directly to Dr. Morrow’s cell phone.
NOTE: There is a $100 after-hours service fee for eye emergencies seen after normal business hours listed below.
Mon – Wed: 7:30am – 6pm
Thurs – Fri: 7:30am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: Closed