The term astigmatism refers to an abnormally shaped cornea. Whereas a cornea should be smooth, in the case of an astigmatism, the cornea has wrinkles in it. These wrinkles form an hourglass shape that bends the light flowing through the cornea and distorts vision. The term keratoconus refers to an especially odd-shaped astigmatism, and if you have keratoconus, you may need to take drastic measures in order to improve your sight.
Keratoconus is not a stable condition, the wrinkles in your eye will most likely get steeper as time goes by. As the state of your cornea gets worse, it will be less and less likely that soft contact lenses will sit properly on your eye. Thus, you will most likely need a hard lens to correct the shape of your eye. On the other hand, if you have ever worn hard lenses, then you know that they are horribly uncomfortable. To make hard lenses more comfortable, you should look into wearing hybrid lenses, which have a hard center with a soft skirt around the edges. The skirt makes hybrid lenses more comfortable, and the hard center gives you the best chance of correcting your vision.
If you don’t want to have to wear hard lenses, or your vision is still not that great even with hard lenses, then you should look into corneal cross-linking. In this procedure, a doctor shaves the outer layer of your cornea off, then bombards your eye with betacarotene. After receiving a few such procedures, your eye should have a more normal shape and will be less likely to further degrade.
In-tacts are another option to consider in conjunction with cross-linking or on their own. In-tacts are two horseshoe-shaped pieces of plastic that are placed under the cornea. Their purpose is to stretch out the cornea. To understand how in-tacts work, picture a shirt that has been thrown in a heap on the ground. Obviously, it will be a maze of wrinkles. If you grab the corners of the shirt and pull, the shirt will flatten out. In-tacts do the same for your eye and should give it a more uniform shape.
Kerotoconus is a debilitating condition that can significantly decrease your ability to see clearly. If your condition is not that bad, then you may be able to get by with soft lenses. On the other hand, if your condition is bad, then you should talk to your eye doctor about cross-linking and in-tacts.