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What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus or "conical cornea" is a disease of the cornea where a cone-like bulge develops. The cornea is the clear outer layer of the front of the eye. Normally the cornea is round in shape, but with keratoconus it thins out and becomes irregular, sometimes forming scars and resulting in visual distortion. This condition usually occurs in both eyes.

What causes keratoconus?

The exact cause of keratoconus is still unknown. However, it appears to be a degenerative condition associated with genetics, Down's Syndrome, ocular allergies, and chronic eye rubbing.

How is keratoconus treated?

If keratoconus is mild, glasses can be prescribed, however the astigmatism prescription will need to be changed frequently. Keratoconus generally progresses slowly for about five to ten years, but then usually stops. If the condition is more advanced, rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses are needed to correct the vision. In most cases, either glasses or rigid contacts will provide satisfactory vision. In very severe keratoconus, surgery is often necessary (20% of cases). The surgery, corneal transplantation, entails transplanting a healthy cornea from a donor in order to replace a conical scarred cornea with a more round clearer cornea.

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