Diagnosing Keratoconus: Degenerative Changes in the Cornea

Keratoconus is a degenerative affliction of the eye. It features changes in the cornea, which cause its structure, normally a rounded curve, to alter into a more conical shape. This conical structure deflects light before it reaches the retina, leading to blurred and distorted vision. Keratoconus can affect one or both eyes.

Keratoconus is often complicated to detect. It is a slow moving disorder, although in certain individuals it progresses at a rapid speed. Astigmatism and nearsightedness may coexist with Keratoconus. Individuals stricken with all three experience blurred and distorted vision along with light sensitivity and glare issues. Due to the slow rate of progression, many patients experience a delayed diagnosis of Keratoconus.

For minor cases of Keratoconus, individuals may be prescribed eyeglasses and/or soft contact lenses to mitigate its effects. As the disease advances and the cornea become more conical, more intense treatments are required.

Treating Keratoconus: Options

Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

A Levin Eyecare doctor may prescribe rigid gas permeable contact lenses for individuals suffering from Keratoconus. The stronger material of this type of lens archs over the conical cornea more effectively than soft contact lenses. Individuals with Keratoconus may need to return to us often to upgrade their lenses as the cornea continues to thin and alter in structure.


Intacs, which are corneal inserts, have been available for over a decade. Comprised of a thin layer of plastic, these inserts are fitted under the eye’s surface, on the edge of the cornea. This enables the cornea to experience clearer vision. Intacs are often recommended when glasses and contact lenses fail to solve the issues instigated by Keratoconus. Intacs offer the benefit of being replaceable and removable. Their downsides include risk of infection, glares, and foreign body sensation.


C3-R technology is a new treatment featuring non-invasive treatment for Keratoconus. Eye drops containing riboflavin are positioned on the cornea, before being targeted by a unique light to make connective tissue stronger.

Corneal Transplants

For some individuals, a cornea transplant may be the most appropriate treatment. This is also referred to as a penetrating keratoplasty. After Levin specialists perform the procedure, glasses and contacts are still needed to promote clear vision.