Keratoconus is one of the conditions known as corneal stromal dystrophies & causes a condition called ectasia. These conditions are caused by a weakness of the cornea & eye rubbing. The result is high astigmatism & distortion of vision.

Keratoconus: The condition & causes

Keratoconus usually starts in your late teens or early twenties & usually gets worse, especially in your teens or twenties, or during pregnancy.

The astigmatism may become difficult to correct with glasses & a special contact lens may become necessary. The cornea & your astigmatism are irregular & progressively worsen & change. If you have keratoconus you may need frequent changes to your glasses or contact lenses.

We don’t understand completely why some people develop keratoconus, but we do know some of the risks factors.

  • Youth: Keratoconus usually starts in your teenage years.
  • Genetics: Some people who have keratoconus in the family or who have certain conditions such as Down’s syndrome are predisposed to keratoconus. 
  • Eye allergies & inflammation: Severe or long term eye allergies & inflammation in childhood or as a teenager can weaken the cornea & cause keratoconus.
  • Behavioural: Chronic eye rubbing can distort & weaken the cornea & cause keratoconus.

You can’t do much about some of these risk factors, such as your genes. However you can stop rubbing your eyes. Please don’t rub your eyes. Your cornea is a soft, elastic structure & you distort it each time you rub. If you rub hard & often enough then the corneal distortion will become permanent, you will distort your vision & you will develop keratoconus.  


However, the progression can be stopped & the distortion may be improved with corneal cross linking. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) eyedrops are dropped on the eye then an ultraviolet light is shone on your eye to strengthen the links between fibres in your cornea & strengthen the cornea.  The effect is somewhat like the cross linked beams which strengthen & support a roof . 

Do you suffer from Keratoconus?

Mark Wevill is an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) & eye surgeon who has specialised in treating vision disorders. He has been correcting vision in eye clinics in Birmingham & the West Midlands since 2002. If you would like to discuss keratoconus with Mark & see if we can help you, then please call. And please don’t rub your eye

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