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My Journey with Keratoconus: From Despair to Hope

A personal story of living with keratoconus, an eye disease that causes vision loss. How I coped with surgery and scleral lenses. - Photo by Victoria Akvarel (Pexels)

Hi everyone, my name is Jessica. I was diagnosed with keratoconus when I was 18 years old. It was a shock to me because I had never heard of this condition before. Keratoconus is a disorder of the eye that causes the cornea to thin and bulge out into a cone shape. This affects the way light enters the eye and causes blurry vision, double vision, nearsightedness, irregular astigmatism and light sensitivity.

At first, I tried to wear glasses but they did not help much. My vision kept getting worse and I had trouble reading, driving, working and doing everyday activities. I felt frustrated, depressed, and isolated. I was afraid of losing my sight completely.

My doctor suggested that I try corneal crosslinking surgery, which is a procedure that strengthens and stabilizes the cornea by creating new links between collagen fibers within the cornea. He said it could stop or slow down the progression of keratoconus. I agreed to do it because I wanted to save my vision.

The surgery was not too painful but it took some time to heal. I had some side effects like feeling like something was in my eye, being sensitive to light, having dry eye, having hazy or blurry vision and feeling eye discomfort or mild eye pain. These gradually improved over time.

After the surgery, my doctor recommended me to use scleral lenses, which are large contact lenses that cover the entire cornea and rest on the white part of the eye (the sclera). He said they could provide better vision correction than glasses or regular contact lenses because they create a smooth surface over the irregular cornea.

It took me some time to get used to wearing scleral lenses. They were more expensive than regular contact lenses and required more care and maintenance. They also had a special fitting process that involved several visits to determine the optimal lens for each eye. The process for applying and removing scleral lenses was different from regular contact lenses as well.

Once I got used to them, I noticed a big difference in my vision quality. My vision was clearer, sharper and more comfortable than before. I could see things that I had missed for years. I felt more confident and happy.

I also found hope and support through an online group for people with keratoconus. There were many people who shared their stories, experiences, tips and advice on how to cope with this condition. They were friendly, supportive and understanding. They made me feel less alone and more hopeful.

Keratoconus has been a challenge for me but it has also taught me some valuable lessons. It has taught me to appreciate what I have, to be resilient in facing difficulties, to seek help when needed and to support others who are going through similar situations.

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