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Glossary of Terms

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Word of the Moment

Print this definitionKeratoconus

A progressive condition where the cornea becomes more oval shaped, eventually forming a corneal cone distortion over time. The cause of this condition is not fully understood however is often hereditary and is believed to have a link with persons who eye rub excessively due to allergies or itchy eyes.

Keratoconic persons are usually not able to see clearly through spectacles due to the distortion in the cornea and are best managed by fitting of Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses, often requiring a specific type of hard lens to accommodate the irregular shape of the eye.

The fitting of these hard lenses not only improves visual acuity but also has been shown to reduce progression of the cone formation in keratoconic eyes. Soft contact lenses cannot usually achieve similar levels of visual acuity due to the fact they ‘wrap' over the cone shape of the eye and therefore distort vision in the same way as spectacles.

Experimental medical treatments incorporating use of specific eye drops to try and reduce progression of keratoconus are currently undergoing research and trials in Australia.

Progression beyond fitment of contact lenses is not common, however in cases where this occurs referral to an Ophthalmologist for consideration of corneal grafts is a worst case scenario.