Peterborough resident Steve Julien is able to see clearly again and lead a normal life following a routine eye examination at his local opticians.
Steve has suffered with poor vision since his teens. It has gradually deteriorated to the point where one of his eyes is just above the legal minimum driving standard and the other is almost legally blind. Unsurprisingly, glasses did little to improve Steve's eyesight and blurring and double vision became a normal part of his life.
Recently he decided to move to a different opticians and chose Specsavers in Peterborough's Bridge Street. Here the optician immediately diagnosed Steve with keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the eye which causes the cornea to become cone-shaped.
This in turn affects the vision and can only be corrected with specialist contact lenses. Steve was treated by contact lens optician, Kay Hilton, who specialises in keratoconus and irregular corneal conditions. She has worked in the optics industry for over 25 years helping a number of keratoconic sufferers lead a normal life with the use of contact lenses.
'I first noticed that my sight wasn't quite right when I was 18 but by my mid-twenties I was at my wits end and finally decided to change opticians.
Moving to Specsavers and being treated by Kay has literally changed my life!
Since meeting Kay she has provided me with on-going help and support to manage my keratoconus and she is always ahead of the game when it comes to her knowledge about the new techniques and lens technologies available.'
Optician Kay Hilton lends a little more clarity on the condition:
'Keratoconus can be a truly debilitating condition so it is vital to educate people on how they can manage it effectively in order to lead a normal life. Steve Julien has a particularly severe type of keratoconus so I have to use a technique called 'piggy backing', fitting two contact lenses into each eye; one working like a bandage to protect the corneas and the other to give Steve good vision.'
The cause of keratoconus is unknown, however, environmental and genetic factors are considered possible causes. Keratoconus rarely appears until puberty or beyond and no-one can be sure how far keratoconus will develop in an individual.