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 vision problems approximately 18 months ago. At the time. I had been wearing glasses and contact lenses with a prescription of -3.50 R+L. The main difficulty I found was when it started getting darker outside in the wintertime. When I’d be driving back from work on the motorway I started to realise things were more blurred than usual. I also noticed a lot more glare from light sources such as car headlights. They appeared more like a streak rather than a distinct light ray. I then found that I was also finding it hard 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. When I saw the scan it confirmed my thoughts as it typically showed a keratoconus cornea with paracentral corneal thinning and classic keratoconus cones.
At this point, my prescription had significantly changed and so my glasses and contact lenses had to be adjusted accordingly. During the interim period of awaiting the scan results and finding out the definitive diagnosis, I was anxious because I did not have a clear insight as to why my vision was fluctuating.
What treatment did you have?
As there is no cure for keratoconus, I then had further treatment at Moorfields eye hospital where I spoke to the corneal specialist and we decided to go ahead with a treatment called cross-linking. The aim of this was to halt the potential progression of keratoconus thereby maintaining my vision as it was so that I can continue with conventional contact lenses and glasses to correct my vision.
How can you get referred?
Once we suspect you have keratoconus, you would be referred to the local eye department by your optometrist where a definitive diagnosis can be made, and if required, you will be referred back to our practice to start the contact lens correction. We supply the lenses on behalf of the hospital.
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 endeavored to progress my career further to help these patients as well. Although no two keratoconus patients are the same, I believe having the condition myself will help me to empathise and understand the patient’s difficulties and my personal story can also help others who can relate.
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, when, for example, weather conditions are bad or if there is no street lighting. The reason why these glares happen 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.