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What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition where the central or paracentral cornea undergoes progressive thinning and steepening. This abnormal  curvature of the cornea can result in blurred or distorted vision, nearsightedness, high irregular astigmatism and increased sensitivity to light. The condition usually occurs in both eyes, but may be asymmetrical.

What causes keratoconus?

While the exact cause is unknown, genetics are believed to play a role. Keratoconus is commonly associated with “atopy” ( the genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma and atopic dermatitis or eczema), Down’s Syndrome, Leber’s congenital amaurosis, and Ehler’s Danlos/connective tissue disorders. The hereditary pattern is neither prominent nor predictable, but positive family histories have been reported. The incidence of keratoconus is often reported to be 1 in 2,000 people.

What is the treatment for keratoconus?

Keratoconus usually progresses slowly for the first five to ten years, then stabilizes without causing severe vision problems. It can initially be corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses. If the disease progresses, rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses may be needed to improve vision. One of the most recent developments in the treatment of keratoconus is a procedure called corneal crosslinking, which has proven to halt the progression of the disease. The cornea specialists at NYEE offer this latest technology to patients whose disease has not progressed too far. In the most advanced cases of keratoconus, typically when scarring of the cornea develops, corneal transplantation may be necessary. 

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