Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye condition whereby the cornea thins and weakens causing it to bulge out into a cone-like fashion. This distorts light entering the eye resulting in blurry vision and glare sensitivity. It happens generally

In cases of moderate to advanced keratoconus, patients often can no longer achieve clear vision with spectacles and will require specialised rigid contact lenses. These lenses act as a new surface and make the corneal shape more regular. Please contact our friendly staff to make an appointment with our highly trained Optometrist.

My family member has Keratoconus. Should I get tested?

Yes. If your family member has Keratoconus, then you are at a higher risk of developing the condition also.

How do you test for Keratoconus?

We use advanced imaging techniques a Corneal Topographer which gives us a geographical map of your cornea. Our highly trained Optometrist then analyse these results to give you a diagnosis.

What causes keratoconus?

This condition is fairly common but most of the time is poorly understood. Generally speaking you can develop keratoconus from the following reasons.

  1. Genetics
  2. Hormonal changes
  3. Atopic disease (allergies & eczema)
  4. Chronic eye rubbing
  5. Poorly fitting rigid contact lens

The symptoms of keratoconus varies quite a bit but it get progress in some quite rapidly and therefore requires specialised care to limit its progression.

For many keratoconus patients they are unable to see clearly with regular glasses or contact lenses as the thinning of the cornea causes the surface to become quite irregular. For these patients a rigid contact lense may be best suited.

Are all contact lenses the same?

No they are not. There are a variety of contact lenses that may be suitable for a keratoconus patient in the form of a rigid lens, however there are many different designs and sizes and some even with a hybrid (soft and hard design).

Luckily our contact lens guru Dr Michael Stefanescu will be able to work with you to fit the most suitable lens design to help you regain the vision you once had. We use the latest corneal imaging and anterior eye scans to help design a custom lens that you will want to wear everyday.

Are there any treatments for Keratoconus?

Once a diagnosis of keratoconus is made the patient will also be sent to see an ophthalmologist for assessment and in some cases for younger patient they will be recommended to have a form of treatment to minimise the progression.

There are 2 main types of treatment for keratoconus (surgical and non-surgical)

Glasses

Glasses are suitable for mild keratoconus and for many this is all that is needed for them to see fairly clearly. The prescription for glasses can sometimes be hard to measure and for some of these patients they are not achieving the best possible visual outcome because they have been given the wrong pair of glasses.

Contact lenses

There are a large range of contact lens options available to fit for a keratoconus patient they include:
1. Custom Soft contact lenses
2. Rigid gas permeable (RGP)
3. Hybrid (combination or hard and soft)
4. Scleral contact lenses
5. Piggy back (soft lens on top of a RGP)

It is so important to have the correct lens fitted and for this to happen it takes 3 things
1. Experience
2. Specialised imaging equipment
3. Time
Each eye is different and your treatment will be customised. Once the lenses fitted correctly they will give you the best vision and comfort possible.

Management of allergies and eye rubbing

Patients that are atopic or have allergies and hayfever will need this managed. By doing so it will also help with reducing damage to the cornea due to constant eye rubbing. In addition a cold eye mask applied on the eyes each day for 10-15 minutes will help reduce symptoms of allergies.

On top of that if you are wearing a rigid contact lens to treat your keratoconus then eye rubbing is really bad as this can then cause the lens to rub against the eye and lead to a corneal ulcer and in some cases scarring.

Surgical Treatment for Keratoconus 

A successful treatment that is used for progressing keratoconus is Corneal Collagen crosslinking. This can be a very good option as it will strengthen the corneal collagen fibres and halt any further progression of the disease.

The other 2 more invasive treatment options are

Corneal Intacs which are used to help reshape the distorted cornea with 2 small semi-circular rings that are implanted into the cornea.

For eyes that have progressed significantly and the damage cannot be fixed with other treatment then the patient may need to undergo a corneal graft. This procedure can be a full thickness or partial thickness transplant. This procedure carries many risks but for some is the only option left to regain vision in the affected eye