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Keratoconus Info

Orange County, California


Keratoconus (KC) is a progressive, noninflammatory, bilateral (but usually asymmetrical) disease of the cornea, characterized by paraxial stromal thinning that leads to corneal surface distortion. Visual loss occurs primarily from irregular astigmatism and myopia and secondarily from corneal scarring.

Background: Keratoconus, is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the normally round basketball shaped cornea progressively thins and becomes football shaped, causing a cone-like bulge to develop. In its earliest stages, keratoconus causes slight blurring and distortion of vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light. In later stages it causes decreased visual acuity and significant visual impairment. This distortion has been compared to viewing a street sign through your car windshield during a driving rainstorm.

The cornea is the clear part of the eye and is responsible for bending most of the light coming into the eye so it can be focused on to the retina. It is even more powerful than the natural lens of the eye. Therefore, abnormalities of the cornea severely affect the way we see the world making simple tasks, like driving, watching TV or reading a book difficult, even with prescription glasses.

Who gets keratoconus?

Researchers estimate that keratoconus affects 1 in 2000 people. The disease affects men and women alike and there are no known differences between races. Although the cause of the disease is unknown, research has suggested that genetics, allergies and other environmental factors may contribute to the onset of the disease.

It is frequently discovered during adolescence. These symptoms usually first appear in the late teens and early twenties. Keratoconus may progress for 10-20 years and then slow in its progression. Each eye may be affected differently.

What Causes Keratoconus?

The causes of keratoconus are still unknown despite our long experience with it. There has been no shortage of speculation or study and numerous theories have been proposed.

One scientific view is that keratoconus is developmental (i.e., genetic) in origin. This suggests that it is the consequence of an abnormality of growth, essentially a congenital defect. Another view is that KC represents a degenerative condition.

Still a third view is that KC is secondary to some disease process. A less widely held hypothesis suggests that the endocrine system may be involved. This idea gained credence from the usual appearance of the disease because it is generally first detected at puberty.

Heredity influences in KC are suggested by studies that show that approximately 13% of patients have other family members with the disease.

If you are interested in keratoconus but are unsure which treatment is best for you, call or email to schedule your consultation with Dr. Khanna at the Khanna Institute today.


Dr. Khanna serves eye care patients in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Orange County, California. This site is for informational purposes about keratoconus causes and prevention only. It is not intended to be medical advice for those seeking keratoconus treatment, but to provide information about the Los Angeles, California LASIK Surgeon, Doctor Rajesh Khanna, M.D.