Our optometrist, Imran Darbar, gives us a first-hand account on his keratoconus story from diagnosis to how it affects his daily life.
When did you first start noticing problems with your vision?
I first started experiencing visual changes approximately 18 months ago. The main difficulty I found was when it started getting dark earlier during the winter period, in particular, driving back from work on the motorway, I started to realise my vision was slightly blurred. I also noticed a lot more glare from light sources such as car headlights. They appeared more like a streak rather than a distinct spot. I also found that I was finding it difficult to distinguish between small numerical values on the computer.
How / when were you diagnosed with keratoconus?
I had qualified as an Optometrist just a year before my diagnosis and I had an inkling that it could be Keratoconus.
I decided to carry out a topography scan for my cornea. This scan maps the curvature of the cornea.
When I assessed the results of this scan, it confirmed my suspicions as it typically showed a keratoconic cornea with paracentral corneal thinning and ectasia.
At this point, my prescription had significantly changed and so my glasses and contact lenses had to be adjusted accordingly.
What treatment did you have?
I had treatment at Moorfields eye hospital called cross-linking. The aim of this was to stop the potential progression of the Keratoconus.
Cross-linking in essence strengths the cornea by creating new bonds between collagen fibres within it. This is carried out by aiming specific wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation together with riboflavin to the front surface of the eye.
How can you get referred?
Once we suspect you have Keratoconus, you will be referred to the local hospital eye department by your Optometrist where a definitive diagnosis can be made. You will then be referred back to our practice to start the medically prescribed contact lens fitting. Conventional contact lenses or glasses cannot adequately correct the vision in people with Keratoconus and so specialised contact lenses are the most effective way to correct the vision in the vast majority of cases. We supply the contact lenses on behalf of the hospital eye service.
There are a number of options of contact lenses, some of which are soft, hybrid and scleral. The contact lens of choice will be tailored for each individual and is dependent on many factors.
When did you join Broadhurst Optometrists and how do you think you can help patients diagnosed with Keratoconus?
I joined this practice in September 2018 with a view to further assist those with this condition. This practice has historically provided the hospital eye service with contact lenses for patients with similar conditions and so I endeavoured to progress my career further to help these patients. Although no two Keratoconic patients are the same, I believe having the condition myself will help me to empathise and understand the patient’s difficulties better.
How does it affect your day-to-day life?
Driving at night, I find that I get more glare and light sources are more diffuse rather than distinct and so I know that extra caution needs to be taken, for example, when the weather conditions are bad or if there is no street lighting. The reason why this glare occurs is that there are higher-order aberrations that are very complex and cannot be corrected fully.
If you would like to book in for an eye test with Imran Darbar: please contact 01772 822591. He is also available at our Lytham practice on specific days. Please do not hesitate to speak to our team for more information.