What is Keratoconus?


Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This will lead to distorted vision in relation to asymmetrical irregular astigmatism where the smooth surface of the cornea becomes slightly wavy, and myopia that develops when the front of the cornea expands. 

It can occur in one or both eyes, and often begins during a person’s teens or early 20s.    


What are the symptoms of Keratoconus? 

At the onset of keratoconus, you may not experience any symptoms and

your vision may only slightly be affected. The earliest signs are usually

blurred vision and frequent changes in eye glass prescription,

or vision that cannot be corrected with glasses.

Some of the other symptoms include: 

  • Sudden change of vision or double vision in just one eye
  • Haloes around bright lights
  • Ghosting of images
  • Increased sensitivity to bright lights and glare

The diagnosis is confirmed by a corneal topography, which maps the surface curvature of the cornea.

You may already know you have Keratoconus.



What are your options?

1. Glasses

At the onset of keratoconus, prescription glasses can correct the myopia and astigmatism. However, as the cornea becomes irregular, vision is no longer adequately corrected with glasses.

2. Contact Lenses

There are various contact lenses available for people with keratoconus.
In the earlier stages of keratoconus, soft contact lenses are used to provide clear vision. As the keratoconus progresses and soft contact lenses are not sufficient, Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) becomes the main option for correcting the vision. These lenses mask the irregularities of the cornea, with tears between the lens and the cornea. 

Other types of contact lenses include:

    • Hybrid Lens, where an RGP center is surrounded by a soft peripheral "skirt"
    • Scleral Lens, which are larger diameter lenses that rest on the white part of the eye and vaults over the cornea. 


3. Implantable Contact Lens

Visian ICL™ is a lens placed within the eye and is made of Collamer, which is similar to collagen. Rather than altering the shape of the cornea by thinning the corneal tissue as in LASIK, the Visian ICL™ is easily inserted into your eye behind the iris through a tiny self-healing wound of 2.5 mm. The cornea where light enters the eye is kept pristine. Visian ICL™ is made of a soft foldable material called Collamer, which is similar to collagen found in our bodies naturally. Hence the lenses are bio-compatible and are never rejected by the body.

One such successful case was the Visian ICL™ implanted in Steven Holcomb, a bob sled pilot from team USA. Due to keratoconus, Holcomb’s vision was once as bad as 20/1000. His vision improved to almost 20/20 after surgery, allowing him to see things on tracks that he never knew were there before.


For more information on ICL™ and Keratoconus, click here.

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