Keratoconus treatment2021-05-10T13:17:19+10:00
  • Keratoconus treatment.

Keratoconus treatment

Keratoconus treatments include glasses and contact lenses, as well as more invasive surgical options.

About keratoconus treatment

Keratoconus treatment is complex. This is because the disease changes over time and affects both eyes differently. That said, there are effective non-surgical and surgical treatment options available.

Non-surgical keratoconus treatment involves glasses or contact lenses. Surgical treatments include collagen cross linking, the use of Intacs and intraocular contact lenses (ICL) as well as corneal transplants.

The most appropriate type of treatment will depend on the type of keratoconus a patient suffers and how far the disease has progressed.

It’s important to note that keratoconus treatments are not cures. Rather, they aim to restore clear vision.

Non-surgical keratoconus treatment

In most cases the treatment for keratoconus will not require surgery. Indeed, eye glasses usually work well in the early stages of the disease. However, as it progresses most sufferers will need contact lenses.


In the early stages, glasses can be an excellent treatment option. People with mild keratoconus can get good vision with an expertly matched prescription from a keratoconus optometrist.

Contact lenses

Contact lenses are the most common keratoconus treatment. In fact, there are typically five different types of contact lenses used in treatment of the disease.

Soft contact lenses are a great treatment option for mild keratoconus. This is because are comfortable and they let oxygen pass through to the eye.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses are small, hard contact lenses that provide greatly improved vision. This is because they arch over the irregularly shaped cornea, presenting a smooth surface which helps focus light. These contact lenses also let oxygen pass through to the eye. 
RGP contact lenses are the most common type of keratoconus treatment.

The “Piggyback” contact lens system has the comfort of soft contact lenses as well as clarity of Rigid Gas Permeable lenses. In fact, the system uses two contact lenses at once – a gas permeable lens fitted on top of a soft contact lens.

These have a central rigid zone for correcting vision and a soft peripheral zone for comfort. Hybrid contact lenses are ideal for sport because they are more comfortable to wear.

These large contact lenses have the clarity of gas permeable lenses, but are much more comfortable to wear. This is because they rest on the white part of the eye (the sclera) and arch over the more sensitive cornea.

Free keratoconus eBook

RGP (hard) contact lenses

RGP, or hard contact lenses, are smaller and more rigid than soft contact lenses. They are the most common type of keratoconus treatment.

Surgical keratoconus treatment

Surgical treatment for keratoconus is usually avoided until someones vision has significantly deteriorated, or contact lenses have become too uncomfortable for them to wear. There are five types of surgical keratoconus treatment.

Corneal collagen cross linking

This is a minimally invasive procedure designed to strengthen the cornea. It works best during the early phase of keratoconus and can slow or even stop the misshaping of the cornea.

The procedure works by using specially formulated vitamin B2 eyedrops which – under ultraviolet light – create new, strengthening bonds between collagen fibres in the cornea.

Corneal cross linking is a keratoconus treatment.

Combined corneal cross linking + laser eye surgery

The aim of this combined procedure is two-fold: Firstly to stabilise the condition and stop keratoconus getting worse; and secondly to reshape the surface of the cornea to improve vision.

Intraocular contact lenses (ICL)

These small, soft contact lenses are surgically inserted inside the eye through a small incision. While intraocular contact lenses can be of benefit to patients who are having difficulty wearing normal contact lenses, the procedure is considered invasive so not used often.

Intacs (intra corneal ring segments)

Intacs are clear, arc-shaped implants. They are surgically positioned into the cornea to reshape the surface of the eye so that vision is improved. However, this minimally invasive surgical procedure hasn’t given reliable results.

How Intacs treat keratoconus.

Corneal transplant

A corneal transplant is a highly invasive surgical procedure. Indeed, it involves grafting a donated cornea onto a patients own cornea.

However, a corneal transplant does not restore perfect vision. In fact, most patients will still need glasses or contact lenses.
Fewer than 5% of people with keratoconus need to get a corneal transplant.

Treating keratoconus with guidance from Dr. Jim Kokkinakis

Dr. Jim Kokkinakis has been treating keratoconus patients for decades. In fact, he is one of the foremost keratoconus optometrists in Australia.

Jim is also a Senior Lecturer at the Optometry School UNSW where he teaches on the subject. In addition, Jim is a Fellow of the International Society of Contact Lens Specialists (ISCLS).

Book an appointment to learn more about the best keratoconus treatment for you.

  Book online now

Learn more

Go to Top