What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition that causes the clear front surface of the eye (the cornea) to thin and bulge forward.

The bulging cornea affects the way light hits the retina at the back of the eye, causing distorted vision.

These images give an impression of what someone with keratoconus may see compared to someone with normal vision.

Keratoconus simulationNormal vision simulation

Who does it affect?

Keratoconus usually occurs during adolescence, or shortly after, and in most cases will stabilise by the age of 35.

Some evidence suggests that keratoconus is a genetic condition and can be passed to a child if both parents carry the recessive gene. However the majority of cases show no definite pattern.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms begin slowly and can be hard to detect. They include:

  • Distorted or blurred vision
  • Glare and light sensitivity

Can it be treated?

As keratoconus is a genetic condition, it cannot be treated with drugs, although glasses and contact lenses can help.

As the condition progresses, eye care professionals may recommend rigid contact lenses to alleviate further changes to the shape of the cornea. Corneal inserts, a relatively new treatment, may be advised. In other cases, a corneal graft may be recommended.

Print Print larger font