What is World KC Day?

What is World KC Day?

On November 10th we honor World KC Day, a national awareness day sponsored by the National Keratoconus Foundation. 

This day is dedicated to help raise awareness about keratoconus (KC), as well as educate and advocate for those living with KC.

We aim to do this by:

  • Encouraging people around the world to share their KC stories
  • Educating patients, friends and family about keratoconus
  • Collaborating with fellow KC organizations

What is Keratoconus?

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.

Who is The National Keratoconus Foundation?

The National Keratoconus Foundation (NKCF) is an educational program of The Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, UC Irvine, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

NKCF is dedicated to the dissemination of information about keratoconus to patients, their families, and eye care professionals. We do this through:

  • The publication and circulation of literature and seminars.
  • Through the organization of keratoconus patients and eye care professionals on a local level for the purpose of mutual dialog and support.
  • Raising funds to support scientific research into the causes, treatment and possible cure of keratoconus.

Treating Keratoconus

There are 2 methods of treatment for keratoconus:

1. Therapeutic Contact Lenses Therapeutic contact lenses differ from usual contact lenses in both physical characteristics and purpose. There are different types of therapeutic lenses designed and prescribed for the treatment of ocular diseases. Only 1% of all contact lenses, however, are therapeutic lenses, while the remainder are worn for either convenience, appearance, or for certain elective visual advantages. The therapeutic lens for keratoconus is fitted as a physical replacement for the deformed cornea, thereby providing a regular surface and improving vision.

2. Collagen Cross-linking System

Corneal Collagen Cross-linking with Riboflavin (CXL) is a developing keratoconus treatment. CXL works by increasing collagen cross-links which are the natural ‘anchors’ within the cornea. These anchors are responsible for preventing the cornea from bulging out and becoming steep and irregular.

Collagen cross-linking is not a cure for keratoconus. The aim of this treatment is to arrest the progression of keratoconus and thereby prevent further deterioration in vision and the need for corneal transplantation.

What is keratoconus? FAQ

What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea, the front surface of the eye.  As a result of this thinning, the normally round shape of the cornea is distorted and a cone-like bulge develops, resulting in significant visual impairment.

What causes keratoconus?
The cause of keratoconus remains unknown, although recent research seems to indicate that it may be genetic in origin.  Certainly, some cases of keratoconus have a hereditary component and studies indicate that about 8% of patients have affected relatives.  If there is no evidence of keratoconus in successive generations of a family, there is less than a 1 in 10 chance of the children of a person with keratoconus also having the condition.  Excessive eye rubbing has also been implicated as a causative factor.

How common is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is estimated to occur in 1 out of every 2000 persons in the general population.  There appears to be no significant preponderance with regards to either men or women.

What are the signs and symptoms of keratoconus?
The initial symptoms of keratoconus are usually a blurring and distortion of vision that may be corrected with spectacles in the early stages of the condition.  Frequent changes to the spectacle correction may be required as the cornea becomes progressively thinner.

What is the usual age of onset of keratoconus?
The onset of keratoconus can be anywhere between the ages of 8 and 45. In the majority of cases, it becomes apparent between the ages of 16 and 30 years.

Does keratoconus affect both eyes?
Yes, keratoconus generally affects both eyes.  Only in a very small percentage of cases (<1%) is there just the involvement of one eye.  Even though keratoconus is basically a bilateral condition, the degree of progression for the two eyes is often unequal; indeed, it is not unusual for the keratoconus to be significantly more advanced in one eye.

Is keratoconus associated with any other diseases or disorders?
Keratoconus has been associated with conditions such as hay fever, asthma, eczema, double jointedness, Down’s syndrome, Marfan’s syndrome and mitral valve prolapse.

Does keratoconus cause blindness?
Keratoconus does not cause total blindness. However it can lead to significant vision impairment resulting in legal blindness.

How is keratoconus treated?
In the early stages of the condition, spectacles are usually successful in correcting the myopia and astigmatism associated with the keratoconus.  As the condition advances, the cornea becomes highly irregular and vision is no longer adequately corrected with spectacles.  Rigid contact lenses are then required to provide optimal visual acuity.  Soft contact lenses are usually not an option, as they cannot correct for the irregular astigmatism associated with the keratoconus.  In about 15% of cases, the keratoconus progresses to the stage where corneal transplantation is required.

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Eyesight experts issue warning on diet which can lead to blindness

Eyesight experts issue warning on diet which can lead to blindness

Kerry Moore had tried ophthalmologists and pediatricians, a children’s hospital and an adult hospital, light tests, genetic tests and various vision tests in trying to find the cause of her son’s encroaching blindness.Nobody had an answer.

“This is something you’re just going to have to live with,” one ophthalmologist told them, and the then 14-year-old Cian withdrew into his computer while his friends slipped away.

Then Ms Moore’s parents saw a television program discussing a cutting-edge treatment for people with similar symptoms, and in desperation she booked a flight from Perth and an appointment with Sydney ophthalmologist Stephanie Watson to see if it would be suitable for Cian.

“We were terrified that he was going to lose his sight,” Ms Moore said. “It seemed to be getting worse.”

But when Professor Watson examined Cian, she diagnosed him with a condition much more banal than the rare disease his mother anticipated.

“She looked at him for a minute and said, ‘Do you know what this is?'” Ms Moore said.

“And I said, ‘No, nobody can tell us, what is it?’ And she said, ‘It’s vitamin A deficiency’.”

Since he was five or six, Cian’s fussy eating habits – nothing except chicken, potatoes, dry bread and Coke – had left him so malnourished he was going blind.

Professor Watson had become familiar with the phenomenon from her time working in Kenya as a medical student, and it was the fourth case she had encountered in Australia. A diet of chips and coke can lead to vitamin A deficiency.

“It’s associated with a bit of food faddiness where kids might not like food textures and tastes so they end up with this incredibly bland diet,” said Professor Watson, chair of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists [RANZCO] public health committee.

“We need a certain amount of vitamin A and without it the cells don’t mature normally.

“They don’t become eye cells, they start going down another path like skin.”

The classic sign is the formation of “Bitot’s spots” on the surface of the eye, formed by a build-up of the fibrous substance known as keratin.

But often the cases were missed because the patients did not look skinny or malnourished, and specialists had not thought to ask them about their diet, Professor Watson said.

“It’s something about this combination of chips and Coke that you don’t get your nutrients, but you feel full.”

Vitamin A deficiency is the most common form of malnutrition leading to blindness worldwide, but it is rare in Australia.

RANZCO chair Brad Horsburgh said he had only seen one case in his career, whose diet was similarly confined to white bread.

“Every medical student knows about it but nobody has ever come across it,” Dr Horsburgh said. “It’s perishingly rare.”

Professor Watson’s previous cases, reported in the Medical Journal of Australia, include a 52-year-old man with self-diagnosed food intolerance who had eaten only potatoes, white bread without butter or margarine and cola since he was a child, complaining that any other food made him vomit.

He developed tunnel vision and night blindness, but completely recovered after taking a course of dietary supplements and cognitive behavioural therapy.

But a 12-year-old boy whose diet consisted of hot chips and nuggets was not so lucky.

Not only was his vision poor, his eyes were so dry that he had been wiping them with a moist cloth and developed an infection.

A year after receiving treatment his vision in the left eye remained poor and he only had light perception in the right eye, presumed to be the result of irreversible damage to the optic nerve.

Cian, now 16, took heavy doses of Vitamin A for a few days and started drinking vitamin shakes regularly.

The vision in his right eye has almost completely recovered, but the damage to his left eye is permanent and Ms Moore has struggled with feelings of guilt.

But he has regained his friends, returned to football and recently got his learner’s licence.

He also eats vegetables.

“He still holds his nose and that’s how he gets through it, but this is his life and there’s no messing around any more.”

Via SMH.com.au

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