Random Blog: Intro to my life with Keratoconus

I’ve been having one of those weeks again, where, while I’m grateful for the fact that I can see fine, it’s just the whole routine I have to go through every night is so repetitive and sometimes frustrating.

Here’s the whole background. I’ve been using glasses on and off since I was about 14 years old, and then regularly from about 19-20 on wards. At around 23-24 years old during an optometrist appointment, my optometrist at the time suspected I may have keratoconus. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then she described it to me. But instead of butchering the description, here’s the Wikipedia version:

Keratoconus (KC, KTCN) is a degenerative disorder of the eye in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than the more normal gradual curve. Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision, with multiple images, streaking and sensitivity to light all often reported by the person. It is typically diagnosed in the person’s adolescentyears. If both eyes are significantly affected, the deterioration in vision can affect the person’s ability to drive a car or read normal print.

– From Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keratoconus 

Scary right? Basically, it does this to my eye (you may want to look away if you’re not comfortable with weird stuff)

Keratoconus eye.jpg ……yeah…exactly (no it’s not my eye).

And in terms of vision, the guys over at Keratomania put a nice little simulation of what a typical Keratoconus patient sees like. Here is below:

Keratoconus Vision Simulation

At first it wasn’t so bad, and my glasses were working fine,  but fast forward to a couple of years ago, my eyesight was so bad that glasses couldn’t correct my vision.

From August 2014 until sometime in 2015, I was custom fit with RGP contact lenses, which pretty much restored my vision to 20-20. Not your normal contact lenses, they’re rigid as opposed to the usual floppy ones. Thus, the point of the blog post, Life with Keratoconus.

For the most part, everything is usual, I have to clean the contacts every night, and all that stuff, but that’s where it gets interesting. These little RGP lenses are a blessing and a curse. They correct vision perfectly, fit fine (they were custom fit to my eyeballs), but the fact that I have to do this every night for the rest of my life is sometimes frustrating. I’ll be honest, there are days where I wish I could get away with just glasses, or just have some kind of surgery to fix it (nope, no laser for me. Can’t do it due to the corneas on both being thin enough as it is). One other thing I’ve noticed about these rgp lenses, airconditioning dries them out like crazy…which isn’t good for me being in an airconditioned office.

But like I said, blessing and curse. Curse because of all the annoyances I put up with (and the fact that I’m feeling annoyed about them right now), but blessing because, without my rgp lenses, with my glasses only, I barely qualify to drive. Yes, that bad! I still remember the day I went home after all the fittings were done, and I had my lenses on. Imagine life going from 144p to 1080p Full HD. That’s how much of a jump it was for me. And because I’d been living on 144p for so long, that I had no idea what it was I was missing out on. One of the funnier moments was once I had the lenses fit, actually seeing people’s faces clearly for the first time, and not having to squint and struggle to see things. To not have to be sitting 1 inch away from my computer screen or holding my phone so close that my nose was touching the screen.

It’s been a very mixed bag of experiences, 2 years in. We’ll see how things move forward from here, but having described all the annoyances and frustrations, I am still thankful that I have the opportunity to be able to see properly again at all. Big shout out to OPSM for helping me through the process. My next check up to review the fit after 1 year is due in a few months time. More updates on this journey to come 🙂

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