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What is stray light and what can you do about it?
Stray light nuisance in keratoconus
When light falls on the eye, the cornea will strongly focus the light. The pupil ensures that only part of this beam can fall further into the eye. With the lens of the eye, humans can make the light beam converge on the retina as a focal point. When the focal point exactly converges on the yellow spot, people can see clearly.
Stray light is caused by cloudiness in the eye. Light falls on a turbidity and spreads far beyond the beam. Every eye has some stray light. The human eye is not perfect. People with keratoconus clearly have more stray light. When light that falls outside the beam illuminates the retina so strongly, glare occurs. The peripheral retinal cells then fire just as strongly as the retinal cells of the yellow spot. Light glare can feel uncomfortable or even painful. Stray light also reduces contrast sensitivity. Patients with a lot of stray light nuisance can feel very tired at the end of the day. Scattered light nuisance can be the reason for cataract surgery for people with a cloudy eye lens (cataract). Stray light nuisance for people with keratoconus rarely leads to a corneal transplant, because of the complexity of this procedure.
Stray light nuisance can lead to functional limitations
Everyone suffers from ‘looking into the light’ to a greater or lesser extent. Looking in bright light is never pleasant, but people with keratoconus quickly suffer twice as much from stray light as compared to people without keratoconus. Tearing eyes, headaches, squinting or wanting to wear sunglasses and/or caps are the result. Sometimes a person with keratoconus does not go outside at all. Stray light also causes nuisance in the dark. This is especially noticeable when looking at car lamps. A headlight then gets a circle of light (halo) around it or deforms into a star (starburst). The phenomenon whereby light is scattered is also called ‘glare’. The effect of increased stray light is somewhat comparable to the view through dirty glasses or a car window with raindrops. In this way, someone without stray light nuisance can understand the problem of keratoconus a little better.
Stray light treatment
It is possible to wear sunglasses to reduce stray light pollution. Sometimes even an extra sun clip on the sunglasses is needed to allow seeing in bright light conditions. Other options for reducing stray light nuisance include the use of colored contact lenses. The night glasses of the Keratoconus Center Netherlands are experienced as pleasant by many users.
Stray light research
To know exactly what is the best solution for you to alleviate your stray light nuisance, a stray light study with a stray light meter is required. The Keratonuscentrum Nederland has a stray light meter with which the amount of stray light nuisance can be determined in an objective manner. The first test results show that the degree of keratoconus is directly related to an increase in stray light.
Would you like to know more about scattered light?
Do you want to know more about what stray light does to your eyesight, or do you want to have a stray light measurement done? Please feel free to contact us.