LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Keratoconus is a rare disease not many people know about aside from those who suffer from it.
"People that have keratoconus, their corneas start to take on an abnormal shape that gives them a very high level of astigmatism," says Ophthalmologist Doctor Charles Thompson.
Unlike many people with bad eyes or astigmatism, glasses can't help people with Keratoconus. Erica Reed suffered for years before she was finally diagnosed.
"I noticed a gradual decrease in my vision," Reed says, "And I questioned if I can wear contacts. I was told I couldn't wear contacts. When I finally went to another doctor, I was diagnosed with Keratoconus and I was told contacts were going to be the best bet to get the vision where I wanted it to be at."
Unfortunately, there aren't many ways to correct the disease. Thompson says, "From the mild cases to the severe cases, you're looking at different types of specialized contacts to kind of maximum corrector vision."
For Reed, she had no idea how bad her vision was until she got specialized contacts to help curve her disease.
Reed says, "That was good vision to me until I was straining on the computer. I was getting headaches trying to see and I just thought, you know, once I got my contacts it was like a whole New World opened up for me. I could see everything it was amazing"
Now, her contacts are the only way she can function through life. "I wear my contacts from the time I wake up till the time I go to bed," Reed says, "Because if I don't everything is just a figure I can't see detail."
For severe cases, surgery and cornea replacement are sometimes necessary. Until now, insurance didn't cover surgery for the disease but starting in 2019, a surgery to stabilize the vision and the disease will be covered under some insurance plans.