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Signs of Keratoconus

April 29, 2020


Keratoconus is one of many different eye conditions. It isn’t the most common, but it does affect a small percentage of the population and has effects that are significant enough to warrant the intervention and care of your eye doctor. Keratoconus is characterized by the progressive thinning of the cornea which causes it to bulge outwards. As a result, the light that enters the eye isn’t refracted correctly and this causes the patient to experience blurred vision. Here’s what you need to know about why this condition occurs and how you can tell if you are suffering from keratoconus.


Causes of Keratoconus


So why do some people develop keratoconus and others don’t? Keratoconus occurs when there is a weakness in the tiny collagen fibers that hold the cornea into a regular, domed shape. As these fibers weaken, their structure is no longer sufficient to hold the cornea in this shape, and instead, it begins to bulge outwards and downwards like a cone. The reason why the collagen fibers weaken is thought to be down to a decrease in antioxidants in the body. 


Keratoconus is fairly uncommon and not usually genetic. However, it has been known to run in some families. It is also more common in people of non-Caucasian descent, people who experience eye allergies, and those who excessively rub their eyes or who have experienced an eye trauma. 


Signs of Keratoconus


In most cases, keratoconus begins when the patient is a teenager. However, this doesn’t mean that it can’t start to occur at other times. The other challenge with keratoconus is how it progresses. Some patients may find that it is slow to progress, and the shape of the cornea will change over many months or years. However, for some patients, the change is much more rapid, and this will result in noticing symptoms fairly quickly. The rate of progression can also fluctuate and there is no way of knowing how it will progress, or whether both eyes will be affected at the same or differing rates. For this reason, your eye doctor will monitor your eyes extremely closely once an initial diagnosis of keratoconus has been made. 


Some of the key symptoms of keratoconus that you should be aware of include:


  • The mild blurring of your vision

  • Distorted vision, where straight lines look wavy or bent

  • Increased sensitivity to light

  • Sensitivity to glare

  • Swelling around the eyes

  • Redness of the eyes

  • Difficulty placing or wearing contact lenses

  • Uncomfortable contact lenses

  • A vision that gets progressively worse


If you suspect that you may be suffering from keratoconus, you should arrange to speak to your eye doctor. They will perform an examination of your eyes to check the shape and condition of your cornea, and then will be able to confirm a diagnosis of keratoconus if this is the case. From here, they will be pleased to talk to you about the various treatments that are available, and which range from specialist contact lenses to surgical interventions.



To find out more about keratoconus, please get in touch with our expert eye care team in Rosedale, Auckland today.