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What is Keratoconus
Keratoconus (from Greek: kerato- horn, cornea; and konos cone), is a degenerative disorder of the eye in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve. The cornea is made up of bundles of protein called ‘collagen’. These bundles are normally held tightly together by chemical links between the collagen strands. This ensures that the shape of the cornea is constant. In the keratoconic cornea the normal chemical links between collagen strands are deficient, causing the cornea to be unusually elastic. The pressure inside the eye then pushes the cornea into a distorted, conical shape.
Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision, with multiple images, streaking and sensitivity to light. It is typically diagnosed in adolescent years and attains its most severe state in the twenties and thirties. If afflicting both eyes, the deterioration in vision can affect the ability to drive a car or read normal print. However, despite the disease’s unpredictable course, keratoconus can often be successfully managed with little or no impairment to the quality of life.