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Keratoconus causes.

Keratoconus causes

There is no single cause of keratoconus, but experts think it may be inherited from parents or linked to allergic and hormonal responses.

About the causes of keratoconus

Expert optometrists haven’t found any single cause for keratoconus, but they can pinpoint the most likely causes. The most common cause of keratoconus is genetic, however it is also related to allergic responses and even hormonal changes in the body.

The likely keratoconus causes

Most people with keratoconus are thought to have inherited it from family members. Indeed this usually happens without them realising. This is because mild keratoconus often goes undiagnosed in families.

Indeed, only 8% of patients with keratoconus are aware of another family member with the disease. However, studies have shown that up to 50% of sufferer’s family members have mild, undiagnosed keratoconus.

Hay fever, eczema and even asthma can be associated with keratoconus. However, the allergy itself isn’t necessarily what causes keratoconus. Rather it is the response to itchy eyes that is the problem, in particular eye-rubbing.

Prolonged eye rubbing can result in damage to the cornea, inducing keratoconus or making it worse.

Hormonal changes are also thought to have a link to keratoconus, especially in young people.

During puberty (or at certain other times of hormonal change) the cornea can accumulate enzymes which make it thinner, resulting in keratoconus.

Collagen disorders can induce keratoconus. This happens when the collagen fibres of the cornea become weak, causing it to be misshapen.

Contact lenses that don’t fit properly can make keratoconus worse, in particular flat-fitting contact lens designs.

Avoid rubbing your eyes

Rubbing your eyes can make keratoconus worse by damaging the cornea.

The cause of my keratoconus

An optometrist who specialises in keratoconus is the only one who can identify the most likely cause of the disease.

Dr. Jim Kokkinakis is one of Australia’s foremost keratoconus optometrists. He can help pinpoint the most likely keratoconus cause by examining your eyes and gauging how other factors might impact on any diagnosis.

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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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