What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a disorder of the anterior (front) surface of the
eye-that is, the cornea. In simple terms, the cornea becomes thinner,
causing it to bulge from its normal round shape to form a cone shape.
This bulging interferes with one's vision and can severely affect the
way objects are seen, making simple tasks like reading, watching TV or
driving very difficult. The distortion caused by Keratoconus has been
compared to that of viewing a street sign through the windscreen of a
car during a driving rainstorm.
The progression of Keratoconus is unpredictable but it generally
occurs slowly and may even cease at some stage. While Keratoconus
interferes with the clarity of a person's sight, it rarely causes
blindness. In its early stages, it causes slight blurring, distortion of
vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light.
In its early stages, the vision impairment caused by keratoconus can
be treated by using spectacles to correct the resultant minor myopia
(nearsightedness) and astigmatism. As the disorder develops, the degree
of vision obtained though spectacles becomes steadily less acceptable.
If the condition continues to worsen and vision is not improved with the
aid of spectacles, specially made gas permeable (GP) contact lenses will
Precise measurements of the eye are first made using special
equipment in order to generate a computerized picture of the shape of
the cone and the cornea. This information and other date on the
corrections required for myopia and astigmatism are fed into special
electronically-controlled lathes which then proceed to manufacture the
precise lenses required. It is thus ensured that the lenses are
custom-made to suit individual eyes. The perfect fir achieved leads not
only to optimum visual acuity (sharpness of vision) but also to better
Needless to say, the testing, manufacturing and fitting of these
lenses require highly skilled personnel and the most modern equipment.
The majority of patients can successfully manage their keratoconus with
the GP contact lenses. However, in small number of cases, where the
cornea can no longer be successfully fitted with contact lenses, a
corneal transplant may become unavoidable, as a last resort.