What you need to know about keratoconus

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Keratoconus explained

In these toggles we explain what you need to know about keratoconus

According to NHS England, Keratoconus affects up to one in 3000 people and affects 5-15% of people with down syndrome. Typically, it is diagnosed in young people who are at puberty in their late teens or early twenties. 

Keratoconus is a bilateral eye condition that affects the development of your eye. Rather than your eye growing in a sphere shape, those with Keratoconus (known as KC) develop a cone-shaped cornea that progressively things, causing a bulge to form on the eye. 

Sufferers of KC tend to suffer from significant visual impairment, requiring treatment. 

On November 10th, we celebrate World KC Day sponsored by the National Keratoconus Foundation, a day that raises awareness nationally about the eye condition Keratoconus. The National Keratoconus Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about Keratoconus to patients, families and eye care professionals through releasing literature and seminars, raising funds to support scientific research into causes treatment and a possible cure for the condition.

Symptoms include:

  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • A halo around lights
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches and general eye pain
  • Eye irritation

The exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, which is why the National Keratoconus Foundation is investing so much time and effort into finding a cause and a cure.

Currently, it is believed that genetics and environmental factors are an influence on the condition. However, scientists do not consider it to be an inherited disease, although, in rare cases, some families encounter more than one individual who has been affected. 

To diagnose keratoconus, we will carry out a number of tests that measure any changes to the shape of your cornea over a period of time. 

The tests include focus checks to give you your prescription, a measurement of the curve of your cornea to work out how much astigmatism there is and also a measurement of how thick your cornea is.

To diagnose keratoconus, we will carry out a number of tests that measure any changes to the shape of your cornea over a period of time.

The tests include focus checks to give you your prescription, a measurement of the curve of your cornea to work out how much astigmatism there is and also a measurement of how thick your cornea is.

The initial treatment for Keratoconus is glasses. However, if the condition worsens, your optometrist may suggest hard contact lenses to help correct your sight. These lenses tend to be thicker and heavier than the soft kind and can also cause your vision to be distorted when you are looking through the edge of the lens. Despite this, they provide a more even shape to your cornea, which helps improve your ability to focus. 

If you are prescribed lenses, you may find that you have to change your glasses frequently. This is because the condition causes your cornea to be thinner and more flexible.

In addition to a prescription of contacts and glasses, we may consider corneal cross-linking. Corneal cross-linking is where we use special eye drops and ultraviolet A(UVA) light to help the damaged tissue in your cornea grow stronger. This process stops the bulge of the eye getting any worse as it adds special bonds that work like support beams to help the cornea stay stable. 

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Mr Bolger suggested having cataract surgery on both eyes on the same day and whilst I had concerns, I decided to go ahead. The day after I was able to remove the eye pads and I had perfect vision. I have told many people that it was the best thing I have ever spent my money on. I have needed spectacles or contact lenses since I was 9 years old and now have 20/20 vision with no assistance from spectacles. I would highly recommend the My-iClinic.

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About the experts

Meet the My-iClinic founders, Mr John Bolger and Ms Bola Odufuwa. Two consultant eye surgeons who made it their life goal to make your life better.


Bola Odufuwa

Consultant Ophthalmologist
Clinic Director

Bola Odufuwa is a consultant ophthalmologist at The Royal Free Hospital and My-iClinic. Her specialities include cataract, glaucoma, paediatric, and laser refractive surgery. Bola has had extensive training at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, where she gained expertise in the management of various eye conditions.

Bola Odufuwa’s special interests include optimal refractive outcomes following cataract surgery, non-penetrating glaucoma surgery, and assessment eyesight in children with special needs: particularly dyslexia and autism.


Mr John Bolger

Consultant Ophthalmologist
Clinic Director

John Bolger is a Consultant Ophthalmologist and Clinic Director at My-iClinic. His specialities include ophthalmology, laser refractive surgery (SMILE, Presbyond, LASIK, PRK, PTK), refractive lens exchange (RLE), cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment and macular degeneration.

Over the course of his career, John Bolger has carried out over 35,000 cataract operations, 20 of which were for eye surgeons. He has also taught over 1500 young ophthalmologists worldwide as they begin their surgical careers.

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