What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a disease affecting the cornea of the eyes. Instead of being evenly rounded, the corneas reshape into a cone-like bulge. Light entering the eye is distorted by this misshapen cornea and so can’t be focused on the retina like it would with a healthy eye. The result is nearsightedness or even astigmatism.

For some people, this disease continues to develop over many year’s time. For others, it will progress to a certain point and then stop.


Genetics may be a factor in developing keratoconus because this condition is often found in multiple members of the same family. It normally begins to show up in a person’s teens or 20s.

A person who sees the following signs should schedule an examination to be tested for keratoconus:

  • Unable to focus on far away objects or objects both near and far
  • Rapid changes in eyeglass prescriptions
  • Glare around lights
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sudden worsening of eyesight

The following factors may encourage the development of keratoconus:

  • Rubbing eyes excessively
  • Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun
  • Poorly fitted contact lenses
  • Chronic eye irritation from environmental conditions
  • Having hay fever or asthma
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The first step of treatment is often fitting a patient with rigid, gas-permeable contact lens. This inflexible lens creates an even surface for light to pass through. But because the cornea under the lens is irregularly shaped, fitting a patient with the exact contact lens that’s right for them is a job for a specialist. Some people may even need specially designed contact lenses custom-fit to their corneas.

A scleral lens – one that rests on the white part of the eye (the sclera) – may be more comfortable for some patients because it does not rest on the cornea itself.

If the disease continues to progress, it might finally be necessary to perform a corneal transplant.


At St. Michael’s Eye & Laser Institute in Largo, Florida, Drs. John and Louis Michaelos and their colleagues offer expert diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of eye problems and diseases. These dedicated doctors have been deeply involved in innovating treatment procedures and equipment for the betterment of eye health around the world.

When you are looking for personal, caring treatment of any eye condition, please call us to schedule an appointment. Call 727-500-2020 today.