Keratoconus: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that affects the shape of your cornea. Those with Keratoconus disease have thinning, bulging, cone-like shaped corneas rather than the usual smooth round shape. This disease does not necessarily affect both eyes equally, and vision quality can deteriorate at different rates from person to person and from eye to eye in the same person.

If you think you are suffering from Keratoconus symptoms, you should book an appointment with a Keratoconus Specialist like those at the California Keratoconus Center to get properly diagnosed. And if you think someone you know might have Keratoconus, send them the Keratoconus Infographic on this page. 

Vision-Related Keratoconus Symptoms

There are several Keratoconus symptoms that individuals with this disease can experience. These symptoms can vary depending on how advanced your Keratoconus is.

The most common signs related to Keratoconus include:

  1. Blurred or distorted vision
  2. Double vision with one eye closed
  3. Seeing triple “ghost” images
  4. Seeing halos around lights at night
  5. Seeing streaks when viewing bright lights
  6. Having frequent headaches due to light sensitivity

If you have any of these Keratoconus symptoms, it could indicate an eye disease that needs treatment. But if you have more than two or three of these symptoms, there is a likelihood that you have Keratoconus. Either way, it is important that you get diagnosed early so you can start treatment as soon as possible. (Make your Keratoconus Screening appointment here.)

Keratoconus Indicators

We still don’t understand all the causes of Keratoconus. This progressive eye disease affects individuals of all ages. According to a study by the National Organization for Rare Disorders, 1 in 2,000 Americans has the disease, while other data suggests that the rate may be as high as 1 in 400.

Keratoconus Family History

Keratoconus often has a genetic component. If your family has a history of the disease, there is a greater chance that children and siblings may also have it. Research has revealed that individuals with a family history are at a higher risk of developing this eye condition.

Eye Rubbing

Eye rubbing is something that many people do when tired. Some data suggest that excessive eye-rubbing can cause Keratoconus or make it worse. Other data suggests that those with Keratoconus tend to rub their eyes more often due to the irritation caused by their misshapen cornea.

LASIK or RK Surgery

LASIK eye surgery and radial keratotomy (RK) are two other potential causes of Keratoconus. Both of these operations involve the cornea and can sometimes cause or worsen Keratoconus.

How is Keratoconus diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis of Keratoconus eye disease, the doctor measures the curvature of the cornea. Several different tests can be used to make an accurate diagnosis. The Topography test is used most often to measure the eye’s curvature, creating a colored “map” of the cornea.

Can you go blind if you have Keratoconus?

Keratoconus does not cause total blindness but can lead to significant vision impairment without treatment. With current treatments now available most patients with Keratoconus can lead normal lifestyles.

Is Keratoconus a Disability?

Keratoconus eye disease could cause loss of visual acuity that is severe enough to be considered a disability. Keratoconus is not a disability, but vision loss caused by the disease may be severe enough to qualify as a disability.

How did I get Keratoconus Eye Disease?

Inflammation from allergies or irritants can contribute to the destruction of corneal tissue, resulting in the development of Keratoconus. Excessive eye rubbing and connective tissue disorders like Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are also associated with developing Keratoconus.

Can Keratoconus Be Treated?

If you have Keratoconus, early treatment is critical. Keratoconus is a progressive disease, but it is possible to stop its progression early with Corneal Cross-Linking (CCL) treatment. Without CCL, your Keratoconus could get worse very quickly.

If your Keratoconus is somewhat stable, and depending on other factors, scleral contact lenses might be the best solution to help you see better and more comfortably.

Depending on your specific condition, other treatments may be more appropriate. Learn more about your best Keratoconus treatment options here.

Keratoconus can affect both eyes differently, leading to contrasting vision between the two eyes.

Stages of Keratoconus Symptoms

In the early stage, Keratoconus symptoms can include:

  • Eye redness or swelling
  • The mild blurring of vision
  • Distorted images, where straight lines look wavy
  • Increased sensitivity to glare and light

In later stages, Keratoconus symptoms often include:

  • Increased blurry and distorted vision
  • Increased astigmatism or nearsightedness causing you to repeatedly need new eyeglass prescriptions as a result. 
  •  Contact lenses become uncomfortable and do not fit properly

Keratoconus can take years to go from early- to late stage. For some people, though, Keratoconus can get worse quickly. The cornea can swell suddenly and start to scar. When the cornea has scar tissue, it loses its smoothness and becomes less clear. As a result, vision grows even more blurry and distorted.

Do You Have These Keratoconus Symptoms?

If you suspect you have Keratoconus, the skilled specialists at the California Keratoconus Center can help. The Center specializes in diagnosing and treating Keratoconus. It has helped thousands of people with the condition since the 1980s when the Center’s Director, Dr. Leonard himself, was diagnosed with the disease in Optometry school. Want to schedule an appointment? Please call the Center at 818-891-6711 or book your appointment online today.

Keratoconus References:

All About Keratoconus 

Keratoconus FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Keratoconus Doctor

Keratoconus Videos

Do I have Keratoconus Infographic