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Keratoconus literally means 'conical or cone-shaped cornea'. The cornea is the major focussing surface of the eye, and in keratoconus, the cornea becomes stretched and thin near its centre. The thinned part of the cornea bulges, making the vision more shortsighted and irregular, and as a result, the vision is distorted.
The stretching of the cornea tends to progress but the rate varies. Sometimes one eye may be badly affected while the other eye may show very little sign of the condition.
The cause of keratoconus is unknown. It may be associated with allergy or could have a genetic component. Keratoconus rarely appears in an individual until puberty or beyond. Although no one can be sure how far keratoconus will develop in an individual, the condition does not cause blindness. With the current treatment available, most people should be able to lead a normal life despite this condition. However, good vision may be difficult to maintain at times and contact lens tolerance varies.