In Keratoconus, the cornea gradually becomes deformed, and tends to grow outwards in the form of a cone. This distorts light rays entering the lens, and blurring and finally complete loss of definition of vision occurs. It usually affects both eyes, and may occur in adolescence. Unless measures are taken it gradually worsens. Blindness may eventuate.
Keratoconus may be dramatic. Conservative measures involve the use of contact lenses, which often give very good results in milder cases.
However, in advanced cases where there is loss of vision, corneal transplantation surgery offers the best result. The diseased cornea is removed, and a new one takes its place. Artificial corneas have not yet been produced, so the cornea must come from a donor, usually a person who has recently died.
Results are generally dramatic, the patient being able to see clearly almost at once. Refraction (the use of corrective glasses) is usually necessary, and regular checking of these (and new lenses as needed) may be required every few years. Organ rejection is rare. Stitches must remain in place for 6-12 months as new cells grow slowly, and this produces temporary discomfort, a small price to pay for regained vision.