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-shaped bulge to develop.
Exactly why this happens is unknown, but genetic factors play a role and it is more common in people with allergic diseases such as asthma, in Down's syndrome and in some disorders of connective tissue such as Marfan's disease.
Constant eye rubbing in chronic allergic conjunctivitis can also induce this condition.
It affects up to one in 1,000 people and is more common in people of Asian heritage.
It is usually diagnosed in teenagers and young adults.
In the early stages, spectacles or soft contact lenses may be used to correct vision. As the cornea becomes thinner and steeper, rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses are often required to correct vision more adequately.
In very advanced cases, where contact lenses fail to improve vision, a corneal transplant may be needed.
Changes caused by keratoconus can take many years to develop. For this reason we monitor those with the condition for up to five years from an initial visit.
If the results are getting steadily worse, we will discuss with you whether you need to undergo corneal cross-linking (CXL).
CXL is a new treatment that can stop keratoconus getting worse. It is a very simple 60-minute day-case procedure with no need for General Anesthesia.