Depending on ethnicity, keratoconus affects up to one in 450 people. It is more common in non-Caucasians.
We can usually diagnose keratoconus in young people at puberty, in their late teens or early twenties. Your optometrist can detect early stages of keratoconus. In the early stages, keratoconus will not affect your vision.
Keratoconus does not cause blindness. If you don’t address keratoconus, however, the cornea can change further in shape. It can become thinner. In advanced stages, these changes can cause a loss of transparency.
The loss of transparency of the cornea can impair the ability of the eye to focus correctly. Even in advanced keratoconus, however, we may be able to correct your vision with contact lenses.
The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role.
Ophthalmologists do not consider it an inherited disease. Rarely, in some families, keratoconus can affect more than one family member.
The image below shows the differences between a normal eye and a keratoconic eye.
Each time you attend our clinic for keratoconus, we will perform many of the same tests, including:
We will compare these results with those from your previous visits. If any of the results show deterioration, we will discuss with you whether CXL is required (see below).
Until recently, the only cure for keratoconus was a corneal transplant. Clearview Institute is the first clinic in Canada to introduce Laser Light Transepithelial Crosslinking.
Laser Light Transepithelial Crosslinking is an innovative and much-improved version of Corneal Collagen Crosslinking (CXL), the traditional treatment for those with keratoconus and ectasia, as well as other degenerative eye disorders.
Learn about Laser Light Transepithelial Crosslinking
In the early stages, we can use glasses or soft contact lenses to correct your vision. As the cornea becomes thinner and steeper, we’ll likely need to use soft or rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses to correct vision more adequately.
In very advanced cases, where contact lenses fail to improve vision, you may need a corneal transplant. A corneal transplant is rare, however, since ophthalmologists introduced corneal crosslinking (CXL).
CXL is a relatively new treatment that can stop the progression of keratoconus. CXL is effective in over 94% of patients with a single 30-minute outpatient procedure.
CXL is only suitable where the corneal shape is continuing to deteriorate. We might detect continued deterioration at your follow-up appointments.
Your keratoconus does not require an urgent referral since changes caused by the condition usually take several months or even years to develop. Because of this, we monitor people with keratoconus and invite them back for repeat assessments.
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