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Keratoconus: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Keratoconus: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment



Have you ever heard of Keratoconus? This rare eye disease might not be on your radar, but it affects millions of people worldwide. In India, it is estimated that 2.3% of the population suffers from keratoconus. 

This condition causes the cornea to become progressively thinner and bulge outward, leading to distorted vision and other eye-related issues. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with keratoconus, it's essential to understand the different types, causes, symptoms, and available treatments. In this blog post, we'll dive into the world of keratoconus and explore what you need to know about this eye condition. So let's get started!

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that causes your cornea to become thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. This can result in blurry or distorted vision, increased sensitivity to light, and frequent changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. It typically affects both of your eyes and often begins during adolescence or early adulthood. In severe cases, you may need a corneal transplant to restore your vision.

Types of Keratoconus

Here are nine different types of keratoconus that have been identified:

  • Classical Keratoconus: This is the most common type of keratoconus, which is characterized by thinning and steepening of the cornea, leading to a cone-like shape.
  • Forme Fruste Keratoconus: This is a mild form of keratoconus that is often difficult to detect as there may be no apparent signs or symptoms.
  • Pellucid Marginal Degeneration: This type of keratoconus affects the lower portion of the cornea, causing it to thin and protrude, leading to irregular astigmatism.
  • Keratoglobus: This is a rare form of keratoconus that affects the entire cornea, causing it to bulge outwards and become thin and weak.
  • Posterior Keratoconus: Here, keratoconus affects the back surface of the cornea, leading to irregular astigmatism and distorted vision.
  • Anterior Keratoconus: This type of keratoconus affects the front surface of the cornea, causing it to become steep and thin, resulting in blurred and distorted vision.
  • Keratoconus with Acute Hydrops: This is a rare complication of keratoconus that occurs when a sudden buildup of fluid causes the cornea to swell and rupture, resulting in sudden vision loss.
  • Post-LASIK Keratectasia: This is a rare but serious complication of LASIK surgery, where the cornea becomes unstable and bulges outwards, leading to distorted and blurred vision.
  • Keratoconus in Children: Although keratoconus is more common in adults, it can also occur in children, and can cause significant vision problems if left untreated.

Causes of Keratoconus

The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, but it is believed to be influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Some studies suggest that the condition may be caused by an imbalance of enzymes within your cornea, which leads to the weakening and thinning of the tissue. Other factors that may contribute to the development of keratoconus include chronic eye rubbing, allergies, and connective tissue disorders. Additionally, some research has suggested that oxidative stress, hormonal imbalances, and certain medications may also play a role in the development of keratoconus.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

There are several symptoms of Keratoconus, including the following:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions
  • Halos or glare around lights
  • Eye strain or fatigue
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision
  • Ghosting or overlapping of images
  • Eye irritation or itching
  • Eye rubbing

However, some of these symptoms may be associated with other disorders, so it’s best to always consult your ophthalmologist and get yourself tested before reaching any conclusion.

Treatment options for Keratoconus

Some of the most widely accepted keratoconus treatment options are:

  • Eyeglasses: In the early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses can help correct mild to moderate astigmatism and improve vision. However, as the condition progresses, eyeglasses may no longer provide you with adequate vision correction.
  • Contact lenses: Specialized contact lenses such as rigid gas permeable lenses or scleral lenses can be used to correct vision in keratoconus patients. These lenses are designed to provide you with a smooth and uniform surface for light to enter the eye, compensating for the irregular shape of your cornea.
  • Cross-linking: Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive procedure that involves applying a special UV-activated solution to the cornea and exposing it to UV light. This causes the collagen fibers within your cornea to form stronger bonds, which helps to halt the progression of keratoconus and prevent further thinning of the cornea.
  • Intrastromal corneal ring segments: Also known as Intacs, these are small plastic inserts that are surgically placed in your cornea to help reshape and support it. Intacs can improve vision and reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses in some patients with keratoconus.
  • Corneal transplant: In advanced cases of keratoconus where vision is significantly impaired, a corneal transplant may be necessary. During this procedure, a portion of the damaged cornea is removed and replaced with a donor cornea. This is typically reserved for cases where other treatment options have failed.

It is important to note that the appropriate keratoconus treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and the specific needs of the individual patient. Only an ophthalmologist or optometrist who specializes in the management of keratoconus can provide you with the right guidance on the most appropriate treatment option.

See Also: What Is the Cornea, and What Are the Common Cornea Problems?


In summary, keratoconus is a complex eye condition with various types, causes, and symptoms, but with appropriate treatment options like eyeglasses, contact lenses, cross-linking, intrastromal corneal ring segments, and corneal transplant, it is possible to manage the condition and preserve vision. However, you should always consult the best eye care hospital or doctor to get the right diagnosis and treatment for this condition.

Frequently Asked Questions On Keratoconus

1. Which surgery is best for keratoconus?

The best keratoconus surgery depends on your condition and specific needs and should be determined by an experienced eye doctor.

2. Can you go blind if you have keratoconus?

While it is rare for keratoconus to cause complete blindness, it can cause significant vision impairment that may require treatment.

3. What is the cost of treatment of keratoconus?

The cost of treatment for keratoconus can vary widely depending on the type of treatment and location and can range from several thousand to several lacs. Keratoconus surgery cost in Kolkata also happens to be in this range.

Consult Netralayam – The Super Specialty Eye Care Center for the Best Diagnosis and Treatment of Keratoconus 

If you are struggling with vision problems and suspect that you may have keratoconus, it is important to seek specialized care from an experienced eye care center. At Netralayam Kolkata, our team of expert ophthalmologists and optometrists is dedicated to providing the best diagnosis and treatment options for keratoconus patients. With cutting-edge technology and a patient-centered approach, we strive to deliver the highest level of care and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your vision. Schedule a consultation with us today and take the first step towards better eye health.



The mission of Netralayam is to provide tertiary level superspeciality eye care service of highest quality to all sections of the society through a team of competent, committed and compassionate professionals in a patient-friendly environment.

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