Keratoconus2020-10-26T17:48:47+11:00
  • Keratoconus

Keratoconus

We answer your questions about keratoconus.

About keratoconus

Keratoconus is a condition that causes blurred vision, astigmatism and in some cases, light sensitivity. It is the result of the cornea having an irregular, cone shape.

There is no cure, however there are effective treatments. These include glasses, contact lenses and corneal crosslinking, as well as 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.

Keratoconus 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.

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What keratoconus looks like

Keratoconus causes the cornea, or clear part of the eye, to bulge forward in a cone-shape. This can be clearly seen in close up photos of the eyes of people suffering keratoconus.

Keratoconus advice

Get regular checkups

Because keratoconus is a progressive disease it is important to have it monitored 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 itchy eyes with eye drops or anti-allergy medications. Also, the progression of contidion can be slowed if you stop eye rubbing.

Getting the right lenses

Fitting 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 a corneal transplant should only be considered when no other treatment options work.

Dr. Jim Kokkinakis
can help you

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

If you suffer keratoconus Dr. Kokkinakis can help. He can guide you through the various treatment options – from contact lenses to surgery – and recommend the best solution for you.

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