Dry air makes keratoconus worse

June is the month to fight keratoconus, and the most important recommendation to avoid the disease is to avoid itching or rubbing the eyes. According to ophthalmologist Leôncio Queiroz Neto, president of the Instituto Penido, this habit weakens the collagen fibers in the outer lens of the eye, the cornea, which becomes thinner and takes the shape of a cone as the disease progresses. The problem is that a study conducted by Queiroz Neto with 315 keratoconus patients shows that 50% have an eye allergy. in the cold is dry air increases this The incidence of 70% increases the risk of progression of keratoconus “Other factors that may aggravate this period are the higher incidence of influenza, colds, sinusitis, rhinitis and asthma that cause eye irritation. Therefore, those who have keratoconus should double care with covid, which in turn has an increase in cases, he says.WHO (World Health Organization) warns that respiratory virus is an important risk factor for eye allergy.

The ophthalmologist’s tip for immediate relief of an allergic attack is to apply cold water compresses over the eyes. If the itching does not go away, consult an ophthalmologist. Treatment is with antiallergic eye drops or corticosteroids in more severe cases. Regardless of the formula, eye drops should only be used after prescription and medical supervision because they are medications and improper use can cause other eye diseases.

Symptoms and preventive diagnosis

The lack of medical follow-up means that keratoconus in Brazil accounts for 7 out of 10 corneal transplants. The problem is that keratoconus can be confused with astigmatism. “Similar symptoms make many patients come to the office wearing glasses for astigmatism, but in the ophthalmological reassessment they are diagnosed with keratoconus because the symptoms are similar,” he points out. The main symptoms of keratoconus are:

Frequent change of glasses.

Night halo vision.

Photophobia or aversion to sunlight

Greater eye strain during online activities

Itching, redness and dry eyes

The biggest symptom difference is the frequent change of glasses in the keratoconus. The good news is that today it is possible to improve the prognosis of the disease through tomography, which examines thousands of points on both sides of the cornea – external and internal.

The ophthalmologist says that through this study he has already discovered cases of keratoconus in children. “It is very important that diagnosis in childhood because progression is faster in children, it can limit treatment and increase the risk of corneal transplantation.


Queiroz Neto points out that vision correction is initially done with glasses. In the most advanced stages, it requires the fitting of a rigid contact lens that smoothes the cornea and improves vision correction. The problem, he says, is that not everyone can adapt to rigid lenses. For these people, scleral lenses resting on the sclera, the white part of the eye, are the best option. This type of lens, he comments, provides greater stability on the surface of the eye, reduces tear evaporation and therefore the dry eye, retains fewer impurities and has good alignment even in very irregular corneas.


The ophthalmologist points out that the only therapy that is able to stop the development of keratoconus is cross-linking. The operation is outpatient and is performed under local anesthesia. It combines vitamin B2 (riboflavin) with ultraviolet radiation to increase up to 3 times the crosslinking of collagen fibers in the cornea. The treatment is indicated for progressive keratoconus, it can only be applied in corneas without scars with at least 400 microns in thickness and in patients who do not have glaucoma.

“In addition to the scleral lens, another alternative to getting rid of advanced keratoconus from corneal transplantation is the intracorneal ring “, he points out. The operation is performed by implanting two arches in the cornea. The specialist explains that the device makes a pressure that evens out the curvature of the cornea, which improves the fit to the contact lenses. In most cases, comments, vision is also better.

The ophthalmologist’s tip for parents is to observe if the child has a habit of scratching or rubbing his eyes and take them to an appointment to avoid a major evil. Prevention is always better, and the only way to prevent the development of keratoconus is to diagnose the disease early to establish the appropriate treatment, he concludes.

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