Home>>Serious Eye Diseases>>Understanding Keratoconus: Causes, Stages, Treatment Options, and Cost Breakdown
Serious Eye DiseasesKeratoconus

Understanding Keratoconus: Causes, Stages, Treatment Options, and Cost Breakdown


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Keratoconus, a condition that affects the shape and structure of the cornea, the outermost layer of our eyes. In this article, we will delve into the causes, different stages, available treatments, and the associated costs of managing this condition.

Keratoconus can be summarized as an irregularity in the shape of the cornea, resulting in a deviation from its usual form. Instead of the normal dome-shaped cornea, individuals with Keratoconus have a thinner, cone-shaped cornea. This abnormal shape causes the light entering the eye to be deflected, leading to blurry vision. It’s worth noting that the severity of vision impairment may vary depending on factors such as age and the progression of the condition.

Essentially, Keratoconus is a disease that affects the surface of the eye, specifically the cornea, which acts as a transparent window to the eye. The central part of the cornea called the stroma, gradually degrades and thins over time in individuals with Keratoconus. As a result, the front part of the cornea weakens and starts to bulge outward in the shape of a cone.

Structure of Cornea | Source: www.jpte.co.jp

Keratoconus vs Normal Eye

Image Source- Flickr | Image by Keratomania.com

In the visual diagram provided above, we can observe the distinctive dissimilarity between the affected cornea and a cornea typical of an average individual.

Direct your attention to the illustrated diagram, which depicts the front surface of a normal eye exhibiting a smooth and regular curvature. In contrast, the affected cornea showcases a noticeable bulging or protrusion, adopting the shape reminiscent of a cone. Additionally, it is important to note that the cornea affected by this defect experiences thinning, which constitutes a defining characteristic of this condition.

This corneal defect primarily manifests as bilateral disease, affecting both eyes simultaneously. However, it often exhibits an asymmetric pattern, meaning that it tends to be more advanced in one eye compared to the other. Despite this asymmetry, it is important to acknowledge that this defect typically presents in both eyes, albeit with varying degrees of severity.

Understanding the Different Stages of Corneal Irregularity

It is a condition characterized by the irregular shape and structure of the cornea, which can be categorized into various stages based on its severity and impact on vision. Let’s explore the two primary stages: Mild Keratoconus and Advanced Keratoconus, and their implications for visual acuity.

Mild Keratoconus

Some individuals may experience a milder form of corneal irregularity that does not significantly affect their vision. In such cases, wearing glasses or regular soft contact lenses is often sufficient to manage their visual needs. With mild corneal irregularity, daily activities and visual acuity can generally continue without major disruptions.

Advanced Keratoconus

On the other hand, individuals with advanced stages of corneal irregularity face more pronounced visual challenges. This category encompasses moderate to advanced levels of corneal irregularity and is characterized by irregular astigmatism. The presence of irregular astigmatism leads to distorted vision and a higher degree of blurred vision, significantly impacting visual acuity. This can make tasks such as learning in school or performing visually demanding activities more difficult.

It’s important to note that corneal irregularity is a progressive condition, meaning it tends to worsen over time. Even if someone initially experiences only mild corneal irregularity, there is a likelihood that the condition will progress as time goes on. Regular monitoring and timely intervention are therefore crucial to manage the advancement of corneal irregularity and minimise its impact on vision.

By gaining a deeper understanding of the different stages of corneal irregularity, individuals and healthcare professionals can develop tailored treatment plans and provide appropriate visual aids to address specific needs. Early detection, regular check-ups, and proactive management strategies play a vital role in preserving visual function and improving the overall quality of life for individuals with corneal irregularity.

Understanding Corneal Fibre Degradation: A Key Factor in Keratoconus

Enzyme Degradation and Corneal Fibre Thinning

It involves the degradation of corneal fibres, specifically, the collagen fibres that form the structure of the cornea. This degradation leads to thinning and weakening of the cornea. The gradual deterioration of collagen fibres in the cornea is a significant contributing factor to the development of Keratoconus.

The Role of Collagen in Corneal Stability

The weakening of the cornea is primarily attributed to the compromised integrity of collagen, an essential component responsible for maintaining corneal strength and shape. Collagen fibres provide crucial support to the cornea, ensuring its stability and optimal function.

Familial Inheritance and Eye Health

Keratoconus has been observed to run in families, indicating a genetic predisposition to the condition. If you have a family history of Keratoconus, it is advisable to prioritize regular eye check-ups for both yourself and your family members. Early detection and intervention can help manage the progression of the condition effectively.

Pro Tips for Preserving Eye Health and Managing Keratoconus

Avoid Eye Rubbing: Whether you have Keratoconus or suffer from severe allergies, it is crucial to refrain from rubbing your eyes vigorously. Eye rubbing can cause micro-damage to the collagen fibres of the eye, including the cornea. As a result, the enzymes responsible for repairing the damaged tissue inadvertently contribute to the progression of Keratoconus.

If you experience frequent eye itching or irritation, consult your doctor about appropriate allergy management strategies, such as oral medications or eye drops, to alleviate symptoms without resorting to eye rubbing.

By being mindful of your eye health and adopting these pro tips, you can minimize the risk of exacerbating Keratoconus and maintain better control over the condition. Remember, it is always advisable to consult with your healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance tailored to your specific situation and needs.

Effective Treatments for Managing Keratoconus

Corneal Cross-Linking (C3R)

One of the groundbreaking treatments for Keratoconus is corneal cross-linking. This procedure involves the application of riboflavin, a form of Vitamin B2, followed by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. The combination of riboflavin and UV light activates surface cells in the eye, strengthening them. Corneal cross-linking has been approved in the United States since 2016, and it has shown significant success in halting or slowing down the progression of this eye condition. Ophthalmologists often consider this treatment as a first-line approach to managing the condition. Corneal cross-linking is performed by corneal specialists, who can be found in various locations across the country.

Intra-Corneal Ring Segments

Another treatment option for moderate to severe stages is the placement of intra-corneal ring segments. These are plastic rings inserted into the cornea, which help flatten and smooth out the cone-shaped surface of the eye. This procedure aims to address advancing myopia (nearsightedness) and correct irregular astigmatism associated with Keratoconus. By reducing corneal irregularities, the use of intra-corneal ring segments can improve vision. This treatment is particularly beneficial when glasses and standard contact lenses struggle to provide adequate correction.

Soft and Hard Contact Lenses (RGP Lenses)

For individuals with mild or moderate Keratoconus, traditional methods such as glasses and contact lenses can still be effective. Soft contact lenses are commonly prescribed for mild Keratoconus, allowing for clear vision while providing comfort. Additionally, hard rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, also known as GP lenses, are a viable option. GP lenses can mask the corneal irregularities caused by Keratoconus, providing better vision correction compared to standard lenses. These specialized lenses are designed to fit the unique shape of the eye’s surface in individuals with Keratoconus.

During your consultation with a surgeon or eye care professional, they will discuss these treatment options in detail and recommend the most suitable approach based on the severity of your condition. It’s important to collaborate with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for managing your Keratoconus effectively.

Comparing C3R Eye Surgery Costs Worldwide

The cost of corneal cross-linking (C3R) eye surgery can vary depending on several factors, including the geographic location, the specific clinic or hospital chosen, the expertise of the surgeon, and additional services or facilities provided.

United States

The cost of C3R eye surgery in the United States is relatively high, ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 per eye on average. Additional expenses for consultations, medications, and follow-up visits should also be considered.


C3R eye surgery in India is known for its affordability. The average cost ranges from ₹20,000 to ₹50,000 per eye. The relatively lower cost, combined with high-quality medical facilities and skilled doctors, makes India a popular destination for medical tourism.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the average cost of C3R eye surgery falls between £1,500 and £3,000 per eye. Prices may vary depending on the specific location, clinic, and surgeon’s expertise.


C3R eye surgery in Australia can range from AUD $2,500 to $5,000 per eye. The cost may be influenced by factors such as the location, the surgeon, and the type of facility chosen.


The average cost of C3R eye surgery in Canada is approximately CAD $2,500 to $4,500 per eye. Prices may vary depending on the region and the specific clinic or hospital.

    It’s important to note that these costs are approximate and can vary depending on individual circumstances, such as the severity of the condition, additional medical services required, and any potential insurance coverage. It’s recommended to consult with ophthalmologists or eye care centres in each country to obtain accurate and up-to-date cost information.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *