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Keratoconus – Is it a Serious Problem?

The cornea is responsible for the quality of our vision. […]

By Published On: 4 October 20163.1 min read

The cornea is responsible for the quality of our vision. When this gets damaged, it would result to various eye ailments just like keratoconus. What exactly is this eye problem?

What is Keratoconus

The main reason why this progressive eye ailment results to poor eyesight is because it changes the usually round shape of the cornea. It becomes much thinner and then gradually transforms to a cone-like shape. When this happens, light which passes through the cornea becomes distorted. Hence, the retina cannot do its functions well and this leads to poor vision.

Unlike the common misconception of many, this eye problem does not always affect both eyes. In some cases, only one eye has a problematic cornea. Usually, the onset of the problem may begin during the teenage years or early 20s.

Keratoconus Causes

The cause of keratoconus is highly attributed to genetics. More recent studies have shown that imbalance of enzyme in the cornea is also responsible. Whether it is genetic or naturally-occurring imbalance, among the factors which could trigger this ailment include uncomfortable contact lenses, recurring eye irritation, excessive rubbing of eye and overexposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Some common health problems can also increase the tendency of developing this ailment. Individuals with down syndrome, extreme allergies, asthma, retinal diseases and problems with connective tissues might be easily affected with this eye disorder.

Keratoconus Symptoms

The various symptoms of keratoconus may start from barely noticeable to severe, depending on the progression of keratoconus. Since some of the symptoms can be easily assumed as nothing serious, it is best to have comprehensive eye test which is done by a physician to determine the problem. Among the symptoms include:

•    Unclear, hazy, distorted or blurred vision
•    Higher sensitivity of eyes for sunlight, bright light or glare
•    Difficulty or inability to have reliable eyesight during the night
•    Easily experiences eyestrain which leads to headaches
•    Blurry vision eventually worsens to hazy vision which can be a result of a rupture at the back part of the cornea

Keratoconus Treatment

•   The best treatment for keratoconus which has not reached severe stage yet, optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend the use of the right type of contact lenses. Usually, lenses for his eye ailment are more rigid and are designed to be gas-permeable. Aside from the contact lenses, it is also necessary to wear sunglasses when there are bright lights or when spending some time under the sun.

•    Corneal Transplantation is one option which could be considered for severe cases of keratoconus. This means that the patient would undergo surgery so that the cornea will be replaced using tissues from a compatible donor. This really should only occur for around 5% of patients with keratoconus.

•    Other break-through technologies when it comes to treating keratoconus are high-frequency radio energy or conductive keratoplasty and intracorneal ring segments. These procedures alter the shape of the cornea making it easier to fit contact lenses in theory.  We have already experienced these possible options and have to admit that to date we are not impressed.  A lot has been promised and not much has been delivered.

If you have consulted someone and they have recommended the above two procedure we would seriously recommend getting a second opinion.

•    Corneal cross-linking is another option though this is an approved treatment in the USA.  This only occurred this year in 2016. In Australia a 2 year study showed both effectivity and safety and we have been performing collagen cross-linking routinely for over 6 years.   In Germany ophthalmologist have been performing this procedure for well over 15 years now. It makes the cornea become harder and stiffer, so that it would not continue to form a cone-like shape. Hence, the progress of keratoconus will be avoided.



  1. Christine 6 March 2014 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Having severe Kerataconus in both eyes. Had a corneal graft on left eye 5 yrs ago and my right can hardly see out of it because of the severe Kerataconus. I get severe headaches if exposed to any form of glare and I avoid light. I am reluctant to have a corneal graft on my other eye, because when I had my corneal graft done, I have severe photophobia in both eyes. Question, what can be done about photophobia?. Christine

  2. raja 22 July 2015 at 7:40 am - Reply

    now am using hard lenes ,wearing hard lens is good or not

  3. raghu 29 February 2016 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    sir pls reply……..can vision be restored to normal…ive undergone intraconeal rings treatment..

  4. Fiza Najeeb 20 July 2016 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Life with KC is so depressing

  5. Shivansh 10 August 2016 at 7:10 am - Reply

    My slitlamp test of both eyes is normal but from left eye I see slightly double vision plz help me I am confuse

    • Nikhil Tiwari 14 June 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      I have exact same problem. Help is needed asap

  6. rajashekarreddy 23 May 2017 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I have keretoconus in only one eye doctors sugested to useccontact lenses iconfused . How long contact lenses will use ???? Plss reply me

    • Jim Kokkinakis 6 July 2017 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      Using a contact lens will not slow down any further progression if that is your question. More information can be found on our main keratoconus page here.

  7. Tashwin Singh 28 June 2017 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Can keratoconus be healed by itself naturally with time ?
    Or it is an irreversible eye disease ?

    • Jim Kokkinakis 6 July 2017 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Keratoconus cannot heal naturally with time. What does happen though is that the cornea naturally strengthens with time and the condition usually does not progress after 30 years of age

  8. shamzi 22 September 2017 at 1:33 am - Reply

    My name is shamzi
    Age (23
    Now recent day found have kc
    Will I go blind
    How fast kc develop worse
    Cross linking wiil able to stop kc development

    • Jim Kokkinakis 22 September 2017 at 7:46 am - Reply

      Shamzi you will not go blind. If you can have cross linking I would advise that you do this soon. What country are you from?

  9. Mugunthan 29 September 2017 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I am mugi age 19 suffering from KC is I become blind. .

    • Jim Kokkinakis 4 October 2017 at 6:44 am - Reply

      Mugi you will not go blind if you can have collagen cross linking. This needs to be followed with some sort of hard lenses fitted by a contact lens specialist. More information on keratoconus can be found on our main web site.

      • Rileigh 27 October 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

        Hi my mom has keratoconus and I think I’m going to have keratoconus my question is are we going to die from keratoconus please answer my question thank you so much bye

        • Jim Kokkinakis 30 October 2017 at 6:59 am - Reply

          Hi Rileigh
          How old are you? Why do you say you think you are going to get keratoconus? It is hereditary but only 8% of people with parents that have keratoconus will get it themselves. You do not die from keratoconus. Tell me where you live so I can refer you to someone to put your fears to rest. You can read more about keratoconus here.

        • Jim Kokkinakis 30 October 2017 at 7:03 am - Reply

          Hi Rileigh
          Only 8% of people with keratoconus will get it themselves. Where do you live so I can refer you to someone that is a specialist.
          You do not die from keratoconus. More information can be found on keratoconus here.

  10. Don 28 October 2017 at 6:35 pm - Reply

    I was diagnosed with KC over fifteen years ago. Each year I go to my optometrist, it is worse. I have been wearing gas permeable lenses, but they are extremely uncomfortable, and I wear them only when absolutely necessary; otherwise, I wear glasses.

    I have two questions: (1) Is it too late for cross-linking? and (2) would it make any difference if I wore the gas permeable lenses more often than occasionally?

    • Jim Kokkinakis 30 October 2017 at 6:50 am - Reply

      Hi Don
      I assume from you email address you are from the US. What part? This is important as it sounds like you are not managed properly. I would like to refer you to a colleague but will need to know where you are so I can try and make it convenient.

      Trying to answer your questions:
      1. It is probably late for crosslinking but only a comprehensive evaluation will reveal this accurately.
      2. My concern with trying to wear the lenses is that maybe that are not fitting properly. Have you tried piggybacking them on daily soft disposables. Have you tried (properly fitted) scleral lenses. It is imperative you get this right. Please see my main website for more information on keratoconus:

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