90 Weoley Castle Rd, Weoley Castle, Birmingham B29 5PT 0121 477 2835

Contact Lens Practice,Eye Care & chiropody in Birmingham

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Keratoconus is degeneration of the structure of the cornea. The cornea is the clear tissue covering the front of the eye.
The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape.
Keratoconus can progress very slowly or quite rapidly, if you have been diagnosed with the condition it doesn't have to be too great a problem, there is a good support web site at



Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause is unknown, but the tendency to develop keratoconus is probably present from birth. Keratoconus is thought to involve a defect in collagen, the tissue that makes up most of the cornea.
Some researchers believe that allergy and eye rubbing may play a role.


The earliest symptom is subtle blurring of vision that cannot be corrected with glasses. (Vision can generally be corrected to 6/6 with rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses.)
Most people who develop keratoconus start out near sighted. The near sightedness tends to become worse over time.

Signs and tests

Keratoconus is often discovered during adolescence. It can usually be diagnosed durring a sight test and with slit-lamp examination of the cornea. At the early stages keratoconus changes can be quite suble and can be sugested by unexpected astigmatic changes. There is no real benefit in early diagnosis as there is no change in prognosis.


Contact lenses are the main treatment for most patients with keratoconus. Fitting patients can be problematic because of the irregular curves found in keratoconus, I have included a section on speciallity lenses for Keratoconus in my contact lens section.

Severe cases may require corneal transplantation as a last resort.
The following newer technologies may delay or prevent the need for corneal transplantation:

Expectations (prognosis)

In most cases vision can be corrected with rigid gas-permeable contact lenses.
If corneal transplantation is needed, results are usually good. The recovery period can be long, and patients often still need contact lenses.


There is a risk of rejection after corneal transplantation, but the risk is much lower than with other organ transplants.
Patients with even borderline keratoconus should not have laser vision correction. Corneal topography is done before laser vision correction to rule out people with this condition.



There are no preventive measures. Some specialists believe that patients with keratoconus should have their eye allergies aggressively treated and should be instructed not to rub their eyes.



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