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Keratoconus is a rare condition that occurs when the cornea thins and bulges outward, creating a cone shape and causing a number of symptoms, including a sudden change in vision in one eye.

How keratoconus develops

The cornea is the clear outer lens of the eye. A healthy, normal cornea is completely round, like a basketball, and remains in place thanks to tiny fibers of protein. When these fibers weaken, they are unable to hold the perfectly round shape. As a result, the cornea begins to progressively bulge outward and form a cone-like shape – causing keratoconus. The condition tends to develop in one eye first, and the second eye almost always follows eventually.

Keratoconus is an unpredictable condition. The cornea can change shape quickly or gradually, and the changes can either stop suddenly or continue progressing for many years. Additionally, it’s impossible to predict how a patient’s condition is going to progress. In severe cases, the stretched fibers of protein can lead to severe corneal scarring.

Keratoconus tends to run in families. As such, it’s recommended to begin testing children with a family history at around ten years of age. In most cases, keratoconus begins to develop in the teen years, though it’s been known to appear throughout the 30s and 40s as well.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Dr. Benjamin and his team typically diagnose keratoconus during a routine eye examination. In most cases, they first notice that the cornea is irregularly shaped and your vision is worsening. Depending on those indications, they will ask about any symptoms you may have been experiencing, such as:

  • A sudden change in vision, particularly if it affects only one eye
  • Objects both near and far appear distorted
  • You see halos surrounding bright lights

Treatment Options

Because keratoconus affects the vision, treatment typically begins with a new pair of eyeglasses or contacts. If your case is mild, these corrective lenses should suffice to improve your eyesight so you can function normally again.

In some cases, sufferers of keratoconus may find that they require contacts to fully correct their vision, but the lenses are uncomfortable. When this occurs, Dr. Benjamin can perform a procedure called a PTK to smooth the corneal scar and increase comfort while wearing contacts. If the condition is developing rapidly, Dr. Benjamin may recommend a procedure called cornea collagen crosslinking to slow down the progression. With this treatment, implants are placed under the surface of the cornea to create a rounder shape.

The final and most permanent treatment option for keratoconus is a cornea transplant. This is a last resort, and only recommended for the most advanced cases. During this procedure, Dr. Benjamin will remove the center of the cornea and replace it with a donor cornea. Most patients will require contact lenses after this procedure.

Schedule an appointment

Keratoconus is most often diagnosed during a routine eye examination – which is why it’s so important to maintain your regular visits to your eye doctor.

Contact our Los Angeles office and schedule your appointment with Dr. Benjamin or Dr. Golchet today.

Hear From Our Patients

Benjamin Eye Institute

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  • Photo of Doe G.
    Doe G.
    Los Angeles, CA
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    6 reviews
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    Wow! I just had surgery by Dr. Benjamin  yesterday. Today I have 20-20, in that eye. Painless & perfect. I had no Idea, what I had been missing.
    Wonderful eye institute. Delightful & very efficient & up to date staff. Especially Myka. Treat yourself to good eye sight by the charming Dr. Benjamin. You will be in good hands.

  • Matt P.
    West Hollywood, CA
    214 friends
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    I have had dry eyes for a quite sometime and had seen several physicians and got eye drops etc but not until I have seen  Dr. Benjamin I found how serious problem that it was. I had the most thorough and individual attention by Dr. Benjamin. He explained to me my problem and treatment options available. Dr. Benjamin and His staff  are very caring and they spend as much time with you as needed and one feels taken care of. I was given state of the art treatment for my dry eyes and my eyes went from feeling tired , red , scratchy and itchy to brilliantly glowing clear. Office is very serene and staff is attentive, pleasant and smiling. Dr. Benjamin is very down to earth and explains thoroughly that one understands what alis them. I will definitely  keep coming back for all my eye issues.

  • Photo of Renee T.
    Renee T.
    Los Angeles, CA
    33 friends
    44 reviews
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    I wish I had come to Dr. Benjamin years ago!!!

    I have been hopping around between 3 eye doctors in the last few years complaining of severe eye pain, redness - so bad I haven't been able to wear contacts for a year. Every other doctor made a diagnosis in 2 minutes, prescribed a few things and sent me on my way. Nothing helped and the doctors kept saying my eyes looked fine despite my symptoms. Finally I saw Dr. Benjamin, and he listened to my concerns from top to bottom and did tests the other doctors never did! He made a brand new diagnosis which finally makes sense and fits my symptoms. He spent almost an hour with me which is unbelievable. I am so impressed with this place, even the front desk and other staff were so friendly. I'm so relieved and am looking forward to making a recovery with Dr. Benjamin and eventually getting LASIK.

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