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Keratoconus is one of the most common eye diseases that can cause corneal problems. We explain the condition, symptoms and treatments.

The cornea is the clear, curved outer layer of the eye. It is made up of several layers and plays a key role in your vision. Keratoconus is one of the most common eye diseases that can cause corneal problems. This disease weakens and thins your cornea, and changes its shape, which may distort light as it enters your eye.

Keratoconus gets worse over time. It doesn't usually appear until the early teens but can sometimes occur at an earlier age. It may also slow down or stop in your 30s. Keratoconus usually affects both eyes but may appear in just one. The cause of this eye disease is currently unknown. For a few people, it can run in the family. Keratoconus may also be more common in certain ethnic groups, such as South Asian people.

In early stages of keratoconus, the symptoms can include:

  • Mild blurring of vision
  • Slightly distorted vision, where straight lines look bent or wavy
  • Increased sensitivity to light and glare
  • Eye redness or swelling

In later stages of keratoconus, the symptoms can include:

  • Increased blurring and distorted vision
  • Increased shortsightedness or astigmatism (when your eye cannot focus well)
  • The frequent need for new eyeglass prescriptions often.
  • Not being able to wear contact lenses
  • Seeing halos around lights when driving at night

Your optician or ophthalmologist can carry out many tests to diagnose keratoconus and measure any changes to the shape of your eye over time. Many cases of keratoconus are mild and can be managed by using special contact lenses, corneal inserts or glasses.

However, some people with keratoconus may reach the point where contact lenses or other therapies no longer provide suitable vision, and they may need surgery such as a cornea transplant. Even after a transplant, a person will probably need glasses or contact lenses for clear vision.

We can arrange a private appointment for you to see a leading eye consultant who specialises in diagnosing treating keratoconus. He or she will thoroughly test and assess your individual condition, and advise you about the most appropriate treatment options for you.

Specialists offering Keratoconus

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Mrs Dalia Said

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MB BCh, MD (Ophth), MSc (Ophth), FRCS (Glasgow)

The Park Hospital

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Mr Luca Ilari

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon


Chelsfield Park Hospital 1 more The Sloane Hospital

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Mr Sanjay Mantry

Consultant Ophthalmologist

FRCS (Glas), FRCOphth (Lond)

Kings Park Hospital 2 more Ross Hall Hospital Ross Hall Clinic Braehead

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Prof William Ayliffe

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MBBS, BSc, DO, FRCS(Lond), FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth.PhD

Shirley Oaks Hospital

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Mr Usman Hussain

Consultant Ophthalomologist

MBBS, BSc (Hons), PGCME, FRCOphth

St Edmunds Hospital

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