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How Is Keratoconus Treated?

Only a doctor experienced in treating eye problems can recommend the right treatment for someone with keratoconus. Treatment usually starts with new eyeglasses, and then contact lenses are recommended. These will correct the vision problems caused by keratoconus.

Keratoconus changes vision in two ways:

  • As the cornea changes from a ball shape to a cone shape, the smooth surface also becomes slightly wavy. This is called irregular astigmatism .
  • As the front of the cornea expands, the eye becomes more nearsighted . That is, only nearby objects can be seen clearly. Anything too far away will look like a blur.
New eyeglasses can usually make vision clear again in mild cases of keratoconus. Eventually, though, it will probably be necessary to use contact lenses. Rigid lenses are used most frequently in keratoconus patients.

Will Surgery Correct Keratoconus?

For most people with keratoconus, the only treatment needed is the correct prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. A small number of cases of keratoconus keep getting worse, however, and, eventually, contact lenses cannot give clear vision. In other cases, the keratoconus or the use of contact lenses over the years will have side effects. These side effects can make the cornea cloudy. When these things happen, corneal transplantation might be recommended.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute.

Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, WebMD, October 2004.

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