Treatment for Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disorder where your cornea thins slowly over time. The cornea also bulges out to form a cone-like shape. It is an uncommon condition. It happens more often in young adults in their teens and 20s.

Types of treatment

Treatment options vary depending on how severe the condition is. They may also vary depending on what type of keratoconus you have.

Early on, you may only need to wear glasses to correct your vision. If glasses don’t correct your vision, you may be given special contact lenses. These contact lenses must be carefully fitted to your cornea.

Many people with keratoconus will not need any other treatment. But if your cornea becomes too scarred or you are not able to wear contact lenses, you may need surgery. There are several types that may be done:

  • Corneal collagen cross-linking. This procedure uses special eye drops (riboflavin) and shines a special light on the cornea to harden it and keep its shape from continuing to change.

  • Corneal transplant. This surgery removes part or all of the cornea. It’s replaced with a cornea from a cadaver donor.

  • Corneal ring implants. These are artificial rings placed inside your cornea.

  • Artificial lenses. These are placed inside your eye.

Each of these procedures has its own risks and benefits. Ask your eye care doctor about what treatment is best for you.

Possible complications of keratoconus

In rare cases, severe keratoconus can cause a complication called corneal hydrops. This happens when part of your cornea breaks. This causes the fluid inside your eye to flow into your cornea. This can cause severe pain and swelling. It may also cause sudden eyesight loss. You may need to wear special contact lenses or use special eye drops if you have corneal hydrops. Corneal hydrops often goes away in several weeks.

Preventing keratoconus

Most cases of keratoconus cannot be prevented. But you may be able to reduce your chance of getting keratoconus by:

  • Protecting your eyes from the sun with sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays

  • Making sure your contact lenses fit well

  • Getting evaluated for any kind of eye discomfort or vision change

  • Not rubbing your eyes

When to call the healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Sudden pain in your eye

  • Sudden eyesight loss

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