What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye disease that results in a thinning of the corneal stroma, which leads to a progressive deformation of the cornea, which then takes the shape of a “cone”. This deformation creates an irregular astigmatism type visual defect.

The disease is usually discovered around the age of 20-30 years and affects 1 in 2000 people.

Keratoconus most often affects both eyes, asymmetrically; the evolution of keratoconus is unpredictable.

The exact causes of keratoconus are not known; the disease is probably genetic, no gene has been identified to date. Sometimes there is a history of keratoconus in the family.



What are the symptoms?

Keratoconus can cause blurred and distorted vision in the early stages.

At a more advanced stage, intolerance to light and watery eyes may appear.

What tests should be carried out?

A measurement of the thickness of the cornea: pachymetry. The central corneal thickness is reduced in keratoconus (less than 500 μm).

A corneal topography which reveals irregular astigmatism.

What are the treatment options?

Minor forms are corrected with glasses or soft lenses.

When glasses or soft lenses are not sufficient, correction with rigid contact lenses can improve vision.

If the lenses are poorly tolerated and the cornea is transparent, eye surgery with the insertion of intra-corneal rings may be proposed.

If the keratoconus progresses, a treatment exists to try to slow down the progression of the disease, this treatment is the “collagen corneal cross linking” (CXL).

Finally, when the cornea loses its transparency in the centre, the only treatment that can improve vision is an anterior lamellar or transfixing corneal graft.

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