Keratoconus: Causes and Symptoms


    Keratoconus is a progressive, non-inflammatory corneal disease, that can lead to severe vision damages through an irregular astigmatism development and a progressive enlargement and thinning of the cornea, that goes from spherical to conical.

    In the past, it was common practice to classify keratoconus in phases from I to IV; the term “fruste keratoconus” represented an initial keratoconus form that was possible to spot only with a corneal topography: a normal ophthalmologic visit wasn’t enough.

    Today, there are big news in keratoconus treatment. Minimally invasive keratoconus surgery, keratoconus cross linking, lamellar corneal transplant for keratoconus, laser and keratoconus, keratoconus contact lenses: an experienced ophthalmologist will advise you on the best procedure for you particular case. Dr. Badalà uses all the most modern techniques for keratoconus treatment in Milan and Catania.

    Keratoconus symptoms

    Everytime there is astigmatism that changes over time, it is mandatory to hypothesise the presense of keratoconus. Keratoconus diagnosis is made thanks to keratometry, topography, tomography and tachymetry. There are different keratoconus phases (I, II, III, IV). Corneal deformation is monitored with a special exam called “corneal topography”, essential to keep an eye on the disease progression and being able to create a customized contact lens.

    The instrument project a series of bright rings and elaborates the image reflected by the cornea, outputting a printed chart with different colors in order to identify all the analyzed curvatures. Keratoconus symptoms usually consists in a variable vision quality paired with an irregular astigmatism.

    Diagnosis can be confirmed with a corneal topography and a corneal pachymetry or with a corneal tomography performed with a tool like the pentacam, pretty useful in case of keratoconus.

    It is best to do a few checkups if: – you have relatives that have keratoconus. – If wearing glasses you can’t reach twenty-twenty vision, even if your eyes are perfectly healthy. – If you know to have astigmatism and you start to see not that well with your usual pair of glasses: that could be the conus changing shape.

    Everytime there is a form of astigmatism that is changing over time, is it mandatory to at least think about the possibility of keratoconus. Keratoconus is classified in phases from I to IV; there is also a premature form called fruste keratoconus, that only corneal topography can spot.

    Dr. Badalà, ophthalmologist in Milan and Catania, often organizes keratoconus screening campaigns, in order to facilitate early diagnosis.

    Keratoconus causes

    It appears most frequently in women; the causes seems to be related to the frailty of the collagen that forms the associated cornea. In some cases it can be due to repeated traumas.
    It appear during teenage years and increases until it stabilizes in adulthood.


    Keratoconus is usually bilateral and once diagnosed in an eye, it is possible to ward off the worsening of the other eye by avoiding rubbing it and correcting wrong habits that can lead to repeated micro traumas, and lastly with corneal cross linking.

    To slow down keratoconus progression, it is important to avoid rubbing the eyes and if it is in its initial phase, to consider cross linking. Cross linking treatment makes the cornea stronger: in this way it becomes more difficult for it to change shape. It can be performed only for specific cases.