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What is Keratoconus?

A condition where the cornea has an abnormal, weaker shape.

Keratoconus often affects both eyes and can cause a slow painless deterioration in vision. This is a condition where the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) has an abnormal, weaker shape, and as a consequence the vision deteriorates over time.

Typically, it begins in the late teens to early 20’s and slowly gets worse over 10-20 years.

Symptoms of keratoconus

Symptoms of Keratoconus can be different in each eye. Initially one may experience mild blurring or distortion of vision. There may be increased sensitivity to light and glare. This can progress with symptoms of worsening vision and increased near sightedness or astigmatism. If your optometrist keeps changing your glasses and your eyes are getting “weaker” quickly, it is a good idea to have an ophthalmologist review your eyes.


The underlying cause of keratoconus is not completely clear. In some cases, it appears to be genetic and is passed down in families. Keratoconus has a strong association with eye allergies and eye rubbing. Excessive eye rubbing should be avoided.

Risk factors

As noted, keratoconus has a strong association with ocular allergies.  If your eyes are very itchy, red and tearing and you rub your eyes a lot, one should see an ophthalmologist. By adequate management of your allergies, one can prevent the eye rubbing that can change or worsen the shape of the front of the eye which can result in keratoconus.


Keratoconus treatment depends on your symptoms and the extent of curvature change and thinning. Early diagnosis and follow up by an ophthalmologist is important. Both the stage of disease and rate of progression will be assessed and then managed appropriately based on this. Your ophthalmologist will also manage any other associated conditions and symptoms, all which can help slow down the progression of keratoconus.

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