Keratoconus is extremely rare where I live and people have no idea what it is
Growing up I was told I had a lazy right eye. At age 4, I had surgery to correct a squint and went through what felt like forever having my good eye patched up and having to go around unable to see a foot in front of me.
I had always known the vision in my right eye was never great and never knew any better. I went through years of wearing glasses, and going to checkups at the opticians. However when I was about 18, things started to change. I noticed my eye sight in my "good" eye was getting worse and I was struggling to read things on the TV. I couldn't even read the top line on the chart with my right eye.
The 2 yearly checks turned into yearly checks. The yearly checks turned into every 6 month checks. The 6 monthly checks turned into 3 monthly checks. My prescription was changing so frequently that eventually I was referred to an ophthalmologist who then diagnosed me with keratoconus.
Where I stay, Keratoconus is extremely rare and even to this day people do not have a clue what I am speaking about. The ophthalmologist referred me to an optometrist who specializes in keratoconus who lives 2 hours away. To this day I cannot thank him enough for the work he has done and the help he has given me. He fitted me with a set of hard contact lenses - which took A LOT of getting used to. But for me, it was the first time I had ever seen properly out of my right eye and it felt amazing. I can now read the bottom line of the chart (with contact lenses in of course).
I was told by my optometrist that there was a procedure which could be done which - although it would never help my eyesight - would help prevent my eyesight deteriorating further. Being told at age 23 there was a chance you would potentially need a corneal transplant by age 30 was the scariest thing I had ever heard. Unfortunately for me, the crosslinking procedure is not available on the NHS and I was told I would have to get the procedure done privately.
I underwent my first procedure on my "bad" eye in April 2014 and my "good" eye followed in August 2014. Although the procedures were not the most comfortable and the whole process was scary, I am so glad I got it done. My eye sight has not deteriorated any since having the procedures done and both my ophthalmologist and optometrist have both been brilliant through everything and I cannot thank them enough. I still have to wear my hard contact lenses every day but knowing that I won't need a corneal transplant in the near future at least has made it all worth it.
Kirsty Weir (Twitter: @littlemissKJW)