Keratoconus Patient Education

Keratoconus Overview

Keratoconus is a non-infectious eye condition in which the normally round and regular shape of the cornea progressively thins and bulges until it is a cone-like, irregular shape.

This cone shape transformation deflects light as it enters the eye, causing substantial vision impairment.

Keratoconus almost always effects both eyes, but usually one eye will advance sooner than the other.

The incidence of Kerataconus is not completely known, but this condition is not rare. It has been reported in several studies that Kerataconus affects 1 out of every 2,000 persons in the general population. Keratoconus is generally first diagnosed in young people at puberty or in their late teens. It is found in all parts of the United States and the rest of the world. It has no known significant geographic, cultural, or social pattern.

Keratoconus has been reported to affect 1 out of every 2,000 people.

In its earliest stages, Keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to light. These symptoms usually first appear in the late teens and early twenties. Keratoconus may progress for 10-20 years and then slow or stabilize. Most of the time, glasses or soft contact lenses may be used to correct the mild nearsightedness and astigmatism caused in the early stages of Keratoconus. As the cornea continues to thin and change shape, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are typically used because they have a greater impact on the distorted vision.

There are now new treatment options available, such as Intacs®, Corneal Collagen Crosslinking, and Laser IEK.

Although Corneal CollagenCrosslinking is NOT approved by the FDA in the United States, many study sites are available and this treatment has been widely used worldwide to halt the progression of Keratoconus. Intacs, or corneal ring implants, are approved and can provide a more stable and regular shape to the cornea. In severe cases, a corneal transplant may be needed due to scarring, extreme thinning or contact lens intolerance. This is a surgical procedure that replaces the Keratoconus cornea with healthy donor tissue.