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What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease in which the dome-shaped cornea thins, causing the cornea to develop a cone-like shape. The misshapen cornea deflects light, causing distorted vision, and may result in blurred vision, double vision, myopia, irregular astigmatism, and sensitivity to light.

What Causes Keratoconus?

Your cornea is held in place by very small collagen fibers. If they are weakened, they cannot preserve the typical round shape of your cornea. The exact cause of keratoconus, however, is still unknown.

We do know that eye rubbing is a significant factor in causing progressive keratoconus in many cases. So it is very important to avoid eye rubbing even if you have undergone corneal crosslinking.

We also understand that weakening of the cornea tends to happen in those with a genetic predisposition, which is why keratoconus may affect several people in a single family.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

As the shape of your cornea begins to bulge, it alters your eyesight. Your normally smooth corneal surface becomes wavy and expands, becoming cone-shaped. This causes irregular astigmatism or nearsightedness. The condition tends to begin in one eye and later develops in the other eye as well.

Symptoms during the early stages of keratoconus:

  • Mild blurred vision
  • Slightly distorted vision (straight lines appear bent or wavy)
  • Some sensitivity to light and glare
  • Red-eye and/or swelling
  • Chronically irritated eyes

In its later stages, one tends to experience:

  • Increased blurred and distorted vision
  • Nearsightedness or irregular astigmatism
  • Inability to wear regular contact lenses


Keratoconus Treatments in Edina
woman putting contact lens in her eye

For improved visual acuity, gas permeable scleral lenses are usually the preferred treatment. Scleral lenses vault over the cornea, replacing its irregular shape with a smooth, uniform refracting surface that provides clarity and comfort. (more information below)

close up of a mans eye

For those with keratoconus, fitting a gas permeable (hard) contact lens over a cone-shaped cornea may at times prove uncomfortable. "Piggybacking" involves placing a soft contact lens over the eye and then placing a GP lens over the soft lens. This increases wearer comfort because the soft lens acts like a cushioning pad under the rigid GP lens.

smiling man wearing PosEYEdon Custom Contacts

The posEYEdon contact lens is customized to precisely fit your eye, this lens is fabricated from FDA approved Gas Permeable material and provides comfort, clear vision and ocular health

close up of contact lenses

Custom soft contact lenses

These customized soft lenses are specially designed to correct mild-to-moderate keratoconus.

EYe surgery close up


This small curved device is surgically placed in your cornea to help flatten the corneal curvature and improve vision.

back of surgeon in front of surgical microscope

Corneal transplant

As a last resort, you may be advised to undergo a corneal transplant, where all or part of your diseased cornea is replaced with healthy donor cornea tissue. Even after a transplant, however, you may still need to wear glasses or contact lenses for clear vision.

close up of eyedrops being put into eye

Corneal collagen cross-linking

Used together, special UV light and eye drops can strengthen the cornea, thus flattening your cornea and preventing further expansion.

middle aged man smiling

These lenses combine a highly oxygen-permeable rigid center with a soft peripheral "skirt". Some hybrid lenses are specifically designed for keratoconus, with the central GP area of the lens vaulting over the cone-shaped cornea.

Corneal Cross Linking | Contact Lenses

Contact Us Today

Contact our optometrists at Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota to find out whether scleral lenses are right for you.

Cornea and Contact Institute of Minnesota helps patients from Edina, Maple Grove, Wayzata, and Excelsior throughout , do all the things they enjoy — but with clearer vision.

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