Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that causes a thinning of the clear front surface of the eye, known as the cornea. This thinning causes the normally round cornea to bulge into a cone-like shape that can dramatically impact vision.

Keratoconus Overview

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Normal Cornea: Round in shape.
Keratoconus: Cornea bulges into a cone-like shape causing distorted and blurred vision.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

Keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes and often begins during a person’s teens or early 20s. It can often be difficult to detect, because it usually develops slowly. Symptoms include:

  • Distorted and blurred vision
  • Progressive nearsightedness
  • Irregular astigmatism
  • Glare and light sensitivity

Possible Causes of Keratoconus

New research suggests that an imbalance of enzymes within the cornea can cause the weakening of the corneal tissue that leads to keratoconus. Risk factors for this imbalance include:

  • A genetic predisposition
  • Overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun
  • Excessive eye rubbing
  • A history of poorly fitted contact lenses
  • Chronic eye irritation

Treatment of Keratoconus

Several treatment options exist for keratoconus, including:

Get EyeSmart

Visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s webpage on keratoconus.


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