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Keratoconus is a condition that causes blurred vision and shortsightedness.

About keratoconus

Keratoconus causes blurred vision, irregular astigmatism and in some cases, light sensitivity. This condition occurs due to the cornea having an irregular, conical shape.

While there is no cure for keratoconus, there are effective treatment options available. These include glasses, contact lenses (soft or rigid), corneal collagen crosslinking and corneal transplantation.

Keratoconus FAQS

Keratoconus is a thinning of the cornea (the clear part of the eye). As this thinning gets worse, normal eye pressure causes the cornea to distort – bulging forward in a cone-shape which impairs vision.

Cross section of a normal eye and an eye with keratoconus.

It is not common. It significantly affects just 1 in 2000 people. However modern screening techniques can now pick up even the most mild cases and becasue of that it is estimate it may be present in as many as 1 in 500 people.

It usually starts in puberty and the condition can get worse up to the age of 30.

No, in most cases keratoconus stabilises during the mid to late 30s.

The symptoms include blurred or distorted vision. The affect on night vision is particularly noticeable. It is common for sufferers to squint to try and correct their vision. Because of this they can also suffer eye strain and sometimes headaches.

No, there isn’t cure. However, an experienced optometrist can managed it successfully.

No, keratoconus does not cause blindness. This condition only affects your vision, so with the care of an experienced optometrist and the right treatment there is no reason why anyone should lose their sight.

Research is still underway into the causes, but we know allergies play a role by inducing eye rubbing which thins the cornea. Genetics and family history also have been identified as causes.

It is often hereditary, with a genetic cause. So patients should always have their children and siblings checked for the condition.

Yes, it usually affects both eyes, but in most cases one eye tends to be more affected.

In the early stages of the disease, glasses or soft contact lenses can give good vision. However, as the condition progresses most patients require hard (or other) contact lenses.

Collagen crosslinking can halt the condition if started early enough.

People who can’t benefit from standard treatment options may need a corneal transplant.

What keratoconus looks like

Keratoconus causes the cornea, or the clear part of the eye, to bulge forward in a conical shape. This can be clearly seen in close-up photos of eyes with moderate to advanced cases of keratoconus.

Keratoconus advice

Get regular checkups

Because keratoconus is a progressive disease, it is important be monitored regularly by your optometrist. Have a checkup every 6-12 months.

Don’t rub your eyes

Rubbing itchy eyes can trigger keratoconus or make the condition worse. Instead, treat your itchy eyes with eye drops or anti-allergy medications. Progression of the condition can be slowed if you stop all eye-rubbing.

Getting the right lenses

Fitting customised contact lenses for keratoconus is a complex procedure, so you may need to trial several different lenses to find the one that’s right for you.

Avoid eye surgery

Eye surgery like corneal transplantation should only be considered when no other treatment options work.

Dr. Jim Kokkinakis
can help you

Dr. Jim Kokkinakis’ commitment to excellence sets him apart. He is a keratoconus specialist and Senior Lecturer at the UNSW School of Optometry where he lectures on the subject. Jim is also a Fellow of the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists (ISCLS).

If you suffer from keratoconus, Dr. Kokkinakis is here to provide his expertise and knowledge. He can guide you through the various treatment options – from contact lenses to surgery – and recommend the most suitable solution for you.

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Learn more about keratoconus

Living with keratoconus

Our patients share their stories of living with keratoconus. See how, with careful treatment, you can thrive in spite of keratoconus.


Keratoconus is a condition that causes blurred vision and shortsightedness.

Keratoconus types

There are four main types of keratoconus including round cone, oval cone, forme fruste and keratoglobus.

Keratoconus symptoms

Keratoconus symptoms include itchy eyes, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light and halos around lights at night.

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