Keratoconus is an eye disorder in which the cornea, the clear, spherical front part of the eye, gets thinner and more cone-shaped over time. The cornea’s uneven shape prevents the light from focusing straight on the retina, which makes it hard to see clearly. Keratoconus may cause lifelong blindness if left untreated.

During a comprehensive eye exam, an optometrist may diagnose keratoconus. Keratoconus is incurable. An early diagnosis has a better chance of preventing it from getting worse and allowing proper treatment.

How do optometrists diagnose the presence of keratoconus?

To determine whether you have keratoconus, your optometrist will do an eye exam and analyze your health and family medical history. If you have a family member with keratoconus, you are at risk for acquiring the illness.

In the early stages of the illness, the symptoms are minor and may include the following:

  • Frequent itching induces vigorous eye rubbing.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Vision impairment, as straight lines seem curved.
  • Glare and sensitivity to light.
  • Eyes are red and swollen.
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As the condition progresses, you may feel the following:

  • More blurriness and distortion of eyesight.
  • Eye discomfort and swelling.
  • Increase in astigmatism or myopia.

Your eye doctor will check the shape of your cornea if you have any of these signs. These tests may consist of the following:

Refractive Index

A refraction test checks for eyesight impairments using special tools. Your optometrist may ask you to look at an eye chart using a phoropter. A phoropter is a device that measures vision using different lenses.

Your optometrist will ask you to compare each lens and determine which gives you the clearest vision. Your eye doctor will look for refractive errors and decide on the best treatment or rule them out based on the exam results. 

Keratometry Examination

A keratometry examination evaluates the cornea’s curvature. The eye’s front surface is measured using a keratometer to see whether it is bulging.

Slit-Lamp Test

Your optometrist will focus light on your cornea and examine your eye’s response under a microscope. The eye doctor will examine the shape of the cornea and search for other potential eye disorders.

Corneal Topography 

A corneal topography test makes three-dimensional pictures of your cornea that show its size, shape, and curve.



After getting a diagnosis of keratoconus from your optometrist, your eye doctor will suggest the best option for treating the eye condition. The treatment you will get depends on the severity of your symptoms and condition. Sometimes, if the keratoconus is severe, your optometrist will refer you to an ophthalmologist.

Schedule an eye exam now for early detection! Visit us at the Walmart Vision Center Crystal Lake, IL or Walmart Vision Center Harvard, IL.

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