Keratoconus patients Aged between 10 – 25 years
As a child hits puberty they experience multittude changes in hormones and enzymes. Genes are unlocked. Proteins are generated. Majority of times all this is beneficial for our body. Heard of Yin and Yang? So DNA which was sleeping wakes up and transcribes RNA. This RNA produces proteins or enzymes which weaken the cornea. The exact triggering mechanism is unknown right now. What is known is that the keratoconus disease progresses rapidly in the teen years. Contact lens do not halt the march of this aggressive disease.
The major goal should be to slow down the bulging of the cornea. The best method for putting brakes on the waking of the cornea is cornea collagen cross linking. Corneal Cross Linking very beneficial in this age group. This has therefore become a standard of care in the United States and Europe.
Interestingly, corneal cross linking with riboflavin also shows the maximum effect in this age group. The reason is as follows. Cxl or collagen cross linking with riboflavin increases stiffness of cornea. This mechanism is similar to aging of the cornea with exposure to sunlight. In the age group between 10 and 25 years, the corneal fibers are more pliable than in a middle aged person.They have not been exposed much to natural sunlight.(Please don’t stare or look at the sun. That can cause macular solar burn). CXL also works best when the curvature of the cornea is less than 57 diopter. Corneal cross linking also requires a cornea of atlas 400 microns thickness. Cross linking works best before any scarring of the cornea sets in.
So early on the results with cornea cross linking is best. It should be employed before indulging in hard contact lenses. Its important to involve the entire family and seek a keratoconus expert surgeon. You should not rely only on the advise of an optician, optometrist or primary care doctor. It is important for your well being to arrest his rogue of a disease without loosing precious time. Considerations of missing school, fear, insurance coverage all need to be addressed.