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Eye abnormality keratoconus

Everything you need to know about the eye disease keratoconus

Those who suffer from the eye defect keratoconus have reduced, or poor, vision due to a cone-shaped deformation of the cornea of the eye. How this eye disease develops is so far unknown. This irregular corneal deformity usually shows up during puberty and can gradually get worse up to the age of 35. The eye disease keratoconus is usually accompanied by a reduction in visual acuity. Usually both eyes have keratoconus, but one eye has a more severe form. Research shows that Keratoconus occurs in about 1 in 400 people in the Netherlands. This means that about 45,000 people suffer from this eye disease.

Causes of this eye disorder

The eye disease keratoconus is caused by both hereditary and non-hereditary factors, and sometimes also by a combination of factors:

  • Heredity: The suspected cause of keratoconus is a hereditary congenital weakening of the cornea. Relatives of someone with keratoconus can also have an altered shape of the cornea. That doesn’t mean she should get keratoconus though. The risk of keratoconus is higher.
  • People with keratoconus often suffer from allergies, asthma and eczema. These are also skin problems.
  • Keratoconus is more common in certain syndromes: having Down syndrome, Turner, Marfan, Ehlers/Danlos can also be associated with the formation of keratoconus. But also with other eye disorders, such as retinitis pigmentosa and aniridia.
  • People with keratoconus have a strong tendency to rub their eyes. Rubbing hard, or excessively, can cause progression of keratoconus.

Treatment of the eye disorder keratoconus

Because of the eye defect keratoconus, you will see less well. This reduced vision can usually be solved with glasses or hard (sclera) lenses. But sometimes a corneal transplant is needed to improve vision. And for several years now, this eye disease keratoconus can be treated with cross-linking (CXL), in which the cornea is irradiated with UV light. This radiation hardens the cornea and prevents the keratoconus from getting worse.

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