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Keratoconus is a common cause of blurred eyesight in younger people. This page tells you how we diagnose and treat it.

What is Keratoconus?

The clear front window of the eye is called the cornea. It focuses light into the eye. Keratoconus is thinning and distortion of the cornea, which causes blurring of eyesight. We can diagnose keratoconus by finding changes in the appearance of the cornea on microscope examination in some cases, but in many patients other tests are required to detect it. We can detect the effects of keratoconus by measuring the way the eye focuses (refraction) and analyzing the shape and thickness of the cornea in great detail (topography).


Keratoconus is becoming more and more common, especially in younger people. There is strong evidence that a habit of rubbing the eyes can cause it. Eye rubbing in turn is common in people who spend a lot of time using computers, smartphones and tablets.

However, this is not the full story :

It can run in families suggesting a genetic link.

It is more common in people who have severe allergies.

It is also more common in people who have very flexible joints and some rare skin and connective tissue conditions.

People with Down’s syndrome are also prone to keratoconus.


Vision becomes increasingly blurred and glasses don’t seem to quite clear up the blur.  Sometimes even with glasses, vision remains blurred and even slightly doubled.  It is usually an optician who suspects that keratoconus is developing.

Occasionally, one or other eye may suddenly become extra blurred, red and swollen.  This is called “hydrops” and appears to be brought on by vigorous eye rubbing. When this happens, the diagnosis of keratoconus is usually made in the eye casualty department of a hospital.


We will try to help you to stop rubbing your eyes, if you do this, with the aid of soothing eye drops.

To help you to see clearly, you will probably need to be fitted with contact lenses. Depending upon your condition, these may be soft or hard (rigid gas permeable).

If your condition continues to worsen, as it often does, we will advise collagen cross linkage to stabilise it.

Excimer laser treatment can be used in selected cases to improve vision in keratoconus, and this is often combined with collagen cross linkage.

In some cases, vision can be improved by inserting tiny plastic implants between the corneal layers (Kerarings™).

Corneal transplantation was in the past the mainstay of treatment for keratoconus. Using the treatments listed above it can be avoided in most cases.

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I visited the My Hearing Clinic knowing I needed a hearing assessment but thinking it was just a build up of wax. It came as a shock that I heard a hearing loss which needed addressing. The service I received from Andrew was outstanding! He explained my hearing loss and went through all my options. He recognised that it was a lot of information to take in so made a follow up appointment, giving me sufficient time to think about what I wanted to do. From start to finish the service has been excellent, efficient, professional and friendly from the moment you walk through the door and meet Lee. The clinic is well located, parking on site, high standard of cleanliness. Definitely a recommendation from me. Thank you!
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