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My Keratoconus Story: Finding Hope and Support

My Keratoconus Story: Finding Hope and Support

I have been wearing glasses since I was 11 years old, but when I turned 15, I noticed that my vision was getting worse and worse. At 17, my eye doctor suspected that I had keratoconus and referred me to a specialist who confirmed the diagnosis with a Pentacam camera that scanned my eyes.

When I learned that I had keratoconus, I felt a surge of fear and despair. I thought I was going to lose my sight and I didn’t know what to do. I searched for information online, but it only made me more anxious and confused. Then I discovered an online support community for people with keratoconus and it changed my life. I was able to talk with others who understood what I was going through and get answers to my questions from real people instead of Google. It felt like a weight was lifted off my chest and I found solace in their words.

My keratoconus was more advanced in my left eye, but at first I could manage with glasses for my right eye. However, as my condition worsened, I had to switch to a special type of contact lens called synergeyes, which are hybrid lenses that combine a hard center and a soft edge. When I was 21, I underwent corneal crosslinking surgery for my right eye, which is a treatment that strengthens the cornea and prevents further distortion. Unfortunately, my left eye was too far gone and I needed a corneal transplant, which is a surgery that replaces the damaged cornea with a healthy donor tissue.

I am now wearing synergeyes lenses in both eyes to correct my vision. One of the biggest challenges I face with keratoconus is wearing contact lenses as a medical student. I have to wear them for long hours every day, studying, attending lectures, and doing clinical rotations. It is very stressful and exhausting to deal with.

I used to rub my eyes a lot when I was a teenager and I blamed myself for causing my keratoconus. But after talking with other people who have the same condition, I realized that it was not my fault and that there are many factors that can contribute to it. I wish I had done the corneal crosslinking sooner in both eyes, so that I could have avoided the corneal transplant. But I am deeply thankful for the generous gift of the donor who gave me a second chance to see the world.

My advice to anyone who has just been diagnosed with keratoconus is to find and join an online support community for people with keratoconus. It really helped me learn how to cope with this disease and get support from others who understand what I’m going through. They should also avoid rubbing their eyes as it can worsen keratoconus. And my last piece of advice is to ask their doctor about corneal crosslinking. The sooner they have this surgery, the better, as it will stop the disease from progressing.

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