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My Fellow Keratoconus Warriors: Stay Strong, You Are Not Alone.

I have worn glasses since high school, so annual visits to the ophthalmologist and optometrist were the rule. However, due to a job that sent me away from my hometown I hadn’t gone to the eye doctor in almost two years.

This time I needed to go, my prescription was not enough anymore and the letters were getting blurry. Eye prescriptions evolve and I was a few days from turning 27, it was normal right?

I went to the same clinic I had attended for over 10 years, the doctor checked me and send me to the optometrist. That day went downhill from there on. I explained to him that my vision had degraded in the past few months and he asked me to go to the keratometer.

He said very casually “you have cone”. He realized I hadn’t been diagnosed yet. “You have keratoconus, your cornea is shaped as a cone. Please go back to the doctor and return afterwards”. The only option they gave me was rigid gas-permeable lenses (RGP).

In less than an hour I had been diagnosed with a degenerative condition I had never heard of and had gone through the hell of RGPs fitting.

I learned a very important lesson that day. Never go alone to the doctor, because you never know what sort of news you will receive.

Even though I will always be grateful to that optometrist for finding out, I never returned to that clinic. After lots of googling, online searching and referrals, I found a great ophthalmologist specialized in keratoconus.

Keratoconus has been a roller coaster, but I have finally come to terms with it. keratoconus will always be a part of me. It has taught me many other valuable lessons and to be grateful.

I am privileged to be from a large city where eye care facilities are available. I am thankful to have a strong medial insurance that helped me get crosslinking in both eyes earlier this year.

And even though a part of me believes I could have been diagnosed earlier, I have stage 1 keratoconus and according to two doctors my vision is “extremely good considering how my eyes are”. So my thick frame glasses will remain my best friends until (and if) contact lenses become a necessity.

Remember to stay strong, you are not alone.

Mily Gonzalez (Twitter: @pazzamily)

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