What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a degenerative, possibly genetic, condition of the cornea that results in gradual blurring and distortion of vision.

Early diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus are important to reduce the risk of disease progression and the requirement for corneal transplant surgery.

If you receive corneal cross-linking (CCL) for early-stage keratoconus, the condition has a high chance of being stabilised.

What are the symptoms?

Keratoconus weakens the cornea causing it to thin and bulge forward into a cone-like shape affecting your vision, mainly in low-level light conditions such as night time. This is because the pupil is larger in low light, exposing more of the irregular cornea.

People with keratoconus usually have a high degree of myopia and astigmatism that can’t be corrected by ordinary glasses.

Common symptoms:

  • Sudden change of vision in one eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Distorted images
  • Multiple images
  • Streaking of lights
  • Haloes around bright lights.

What are the causes?

In keratoconus, collagen fibres in the cornea can slip over one another so that the lower half of the cornea bulges into a cone shape. This reduces vision, increases astigmatism and introduces aberrations that reduce vision quality.

The clear ‘bulge’ that characterises keratoconus develops very gradually, distorting the light rays that enter the eye and causing a distorted or ‘bumpy’ field of vision.

What is the treatment?

Keratoconus is often detected when assessing other eye conditions. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chances of a successful outcome.

Every patient is unique, so we offer a detailed consultation with one of our Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeons who are specialists in the management of corneal disease to answer all your questions and explain the treatment options.

Corneal Cross-Linking (CCL): a medical procedure to prevent keratoconus from worsening. It is generally recommended for patients whose condition has been diagnosed early enough. Topography guided laser treatment is an additional option which can be used in conjunction with CCL to stabilise and improve vision. Read more

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