Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round dome-shaped clear window of the eye (cornea) progressively thins causing a cone-like bulge to develop. This eventually impairs the ability of the eye to focus properly, potentially causing poor vision.

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition which causes the thinning and weakening of the cornea, resulting in it changing shape. A cone-shaped bulge develops in the cornea, which is typically round and dome-shaped.

The latest research shows keratoconus is much more common than previously thought although many cases are mild. It normally develops in teenagers or those in their twenties and often gradually gets worse over time. The speed of change and severity of the stages of keratoconus varies between those affected.

What are the symptoms of keratoconus?

Keratoconus symptoms include;

  • Worsening of vision causing frequent changes to prescription
  • Blurring or clouding of vision
  • Sensitivity and glare from bright lights

Keratoconus signs can change as the condition worsens over time. The change in shape and thinning of the cornea impairs the ability of the eye to focus properly. In advanced cases, some patients may develop scarring in the cornea. All of these corneal changes can cause poor vision.

How keratoconus affects vision

Early stages of keratoconus are detectable by your local optometrist. Vision is often unaffected in the very early stages. It is important to remember that keratoconus does not cause blindness. If left unchecked, further changes in shape, thinning of the cornea and, in advanced stages, scarring cause loss of transparency of the cornea which impairs the ability of the eye to focus properly. Even in advanced keratoconus however it is usually possible to correct vision with contact lenses. 

What causes keratoconus?

The exact cause of keratoconus remains unknown, although it’s believed that both genetic and environmental factors can have an impact. It is estimated that around 1 in 10 people with the eye condition keratoconus will have a 1st degree family member who is also affected. However, keratoconus is not typically considered to be an inherited disease.

There are also a number of factors that may increase your chances of developing the keratoconus eye disease. It occurs more commonly in individuals with certain allergic conditions, including asthma and eczema, and is more likely to develop in non-caucasian ethnicity groups.

Keratoconus treatment is available at Moorfields Private

You can self-fund or use private medical insurance to fund your treatment.

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