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What is Keratoconus?

“For all his career, his life even, Steph Curry has had issues with his eyes. He said he has a condition called Keratoconus” - The Athletic, April 5, 2019

The clarity of your vision relies heavily on your cornea: the normally-round, clear dome at the front of your eye. The shape of the cornea determines how light is focused into your eye onto the retina, and any change or distortion to its shape can result in blurry and/or distorted vision.


Keratoconus is a condition where the cornea becomes thin and develops a cone-like bulge at the front. This disease has been widely researched since the mid-1800s; some of the causes of keratoconus are linked to genetics (family history), excessive eye rubbing, eye allergies, and connective tissue disorders.


Typically, when left untreated, keratoconus becomes apparent during puberty, progressing over the next few decades, and stabilizing within mid-adulthood (40s).


In the early stages of the disease, there may be minimal or no symptoms; however, as keratoconus advances, vision can become much blurrier and more distorted. Once the cornea tissue is damaged, glasses and contact lenses will not correct the significant visual loss, and in the past, as many as 1 in 5 patients would go on to require a corneal transplant.


There are several methods of treatment to help keratoconus, but there is only one method of treatment that stops the progression of keratoconus: corneal collagen crosslinking. This procedure combines riboflavin eye drop medication with a focused beam of UV light rays to help form bonds between the collagen fibers in your cornea, strengthening the corneal tissue. The goal of crosslinking should be early treatment with prevention of damage, the key to success being early diagnosis and prevention of vision loss.


If your eye doctor suspects symptoms of keratoconus, contact one of our fellowship-trained cornea specialists to see if corneal crosslinking is the right treatment for you.