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What is Keratoconus : Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

Dr. Prashant B. Borde In Keratoconus

Feb 07, 2024 | 4 min read

Keratoconus is an eye disorder that affects the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye. The condition is characterized by the cornea gradually thinning and taking on a conical shape, leading to distorted vision and other visual abnormalities. Although relatively rare, affecting around 1 in 2,000 people. Keratoconus can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. In this blog, we will delve into the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for keratoconus.


Keratoconus Symptoms


  • Blurry Vision– One of the early signs of keratoconus is a gradual blurring of vision. As the cornea loses its regular shape, it becomes increasingly difficult for light to focus on the retina, resulting in distorted or blurred vision. This can make simple tasks such as reading or recognizing faces challenging.

  • Frequent Changes in the Prescription of Glasses– Individuals with keratoconus often find that their prescription glasses become less effective lenses that may no longer provide clear vision. Regular visits to an eye care professional are essential to monitor changes in prescription and ensure appropriate adjustment.

  • Increased Sensitivity to Light– Many people with keratoconus experience heightened sensitivity to light, a condition known as photophobia. This sensitivity can make exposure to bright lights uncomfortable and may contribute to eye strain.

  • Halos and Ghosting– As keratoconus progresses, individuals may start to notice halos or ghosting around lights, especially during nighttime. This phenomenon occurs due to the irregular shape of the cornea, causing light to scatter rather than focus properly on the retina.

  • Frequent Eye Rubbing– The constant rubbing of the eyes is a common instinct when vision becomes blurry or distorted. However, this exacerbates the condition by further thinning the cornea. Excessive eye rubbing may contribute to the progression of keratoconus and should be avoided.

Diagnosis of keratoconus


Diagnosing keratoconus typically involves a comprehensive eye examination conducted by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The following diagnostic tools and tests may be utilized: 


  • Slit Lamp Examination – This involves examining the cornea using a slit Lamp, a microscope with a thin, intense beam of light. The doctor can identify irregularities in the corneal shape and thickness.

  • Corneal Topography Keratoconus – This non-invasive imaging technique maps the surface of the cornea, providing detailed information about its curvature and shape. Corneal topography is instrumental in diagnosing and monitoring the progression of keratoconus.

  • Pachymetry- This test measures the thickness of the cornea. Thinning of the cornea is a key characteristic of keratoconus, and pachymetry helps in assessing its severity.

Keratoconus Treatments


  • Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses- In the early stages of keratoconus, eyeglasses or soft contact lenses may be sufficient to correct vision. However, as the condition progresses, specialized lenses such as rigid gas permeable (RGP) or scleral lenses may be recommended to provide better visual acuity.

  • Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL):  This minimally invasive procedure aims to strengthen the cornea and halt the progression of keratoconus. During CXL, the cornea is exposed to ultraviolet cross-links between collagen fibers, thereby increasing corneal stability.

  • Intacs- In cases where contact lenses are not well-tolerated or effective, small plastic inserts known as Intacs may be surgically implanted into the cornea to help reshape the cornea, improving vision by redistributing the pressure on the corneal surface.

Corneal Transplant (Penetrating Keratoplasty or Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty) – For advanced cases of keratoconus where other treatments are ineffective, a corneal transplant may be recommended. This involves replacing the damaged cornea with a donor cornea to restore clear vision.


Keratoconus, though relatively uncommon, can have a profound impact on an individual’s visual health and daily life. Early detection and keratoconus appropriate management are crucial in controlling the progression of the condition. Regular eye examinations and prompt consultation with an eye care professional can make a significant difference in preserving vision and enhancing the quality of life for those with keratoconus. With advancements in treatment options, including keratoconus surgery. Individuals diagnosed with keratoconus can explore personalized approaches to manage their condition and maintain clear, comfortable vision. Choose ASG – the best hospital for Keratoconus in India.

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Written and Verified by:

Dr. Prashant B. Borde

Dr. Prashant B. Borde

Cataract, Glaucoma And Refractive


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