What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus (keh-rah-toe-cone-us) is a condition that affects the cornea. The cornea is the transparent, front layer of the eye (sometimes known as the window to the eye). The corneas main job is to start bending light towards the retina at the back of the eye.

Keratoconus is when the cornea becomes weaker and thinner causing an outward facing cone like bulge. As the cornea helps with directing light to the retina for clear vision, keratoconus causes people’s eyesight to become distorted or blurry.

The condition usually starts in your teens or early 20’s and is not thought to be an inherited condition. Its’ cause is not clear although new research seems to point in the direction of unbalanced enzymes.


Most sufferers of the condition will notice some of the following conditions:

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • One eyes vision is worse than the other
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye strain
  • Ghosting

It’s important to note that most of these symptoms are not exclusive to keratoconus alone. So, if you are concerned, the best thing is to book an eye examination at one of our branches.


In the early stages, keratoconus can be treated with normal glasses or soft contact lenses. As the condition progresses, a harder contact lens or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) may be needed to give a better visual acuity. There are also a few versions of specialist lenses that could be used.

Between 11-27% of keratoconus sufferers will need a corneal transplant. As the cornea does not have a blood supply there is no need to find a blood match. A section of the cornea will be removed and a donor cornea will be grafted into place.

The recovery period is around 4-6 weeks but full visual stabilization can take up to a year.