What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an uncommon eye disorder characterized by an irregular corneal surface, which results in blurred, distorted images. Keratoconus literally means “cone-shaped cornea”.

The cornea is the outer surface of the eye, working as a “window” the eye. When you see an image, light travels through the cornea, through the surface of the lens, and finally onto the retina which will interpret the light into signals for the brain. The signals from the retina will result in the image you see. The normal cornea is smooth and dome shaped. Light passes through with no issue, sending clear images to the retina and to the brain.

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Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition, affecting the cornea. The normally dome shaped cornea weakens and becomes thinner, causing a cone-like bulge to slowly develop. The normal curvature of the cornea becomes irregular, causing an increase in nearsightedness and astigmatism, which can be corrected with special contact lenses. Since the cornea is responsible for refracting light into the eye, keratoconus results in significant visual impairment. This can make tasks such as driving or reading very difficult.

Chart Illustrating a Normal Eye Compared to One With Keratoconus

Symptoms of keratoconus include:

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to contact one of our great doctors here at Associated Eye Care.

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According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, around 1 out of every 2,000 people will develop keratoconus, which often has a genetic predisposition. Many people with keratoconus will have a mild to moderate form of the disease. Less than 10% of people with keratoconus will experience the most severe form. Generally, keratoconus is diagnosed in the late teens or twenties, however, many people have been diagnosed in their mid to late thirties. It is common for one eye to progress at a different rate than the other. The eyes may go through a long period without any change, and then change dramatically over a period of months.

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