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Keratoconus (Cone Shaped Eye) Treatment in Sydney

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a cornea condition where the cornea thins and becomes very steep. Instead of being even and round, it bulges into a cone-like shape. As the cornea increases in steepness, it becomes progressively thinner and irregular.

The cornea contains collagen, a clear protein that makes up many other parts of your body. The collagen in your cornea is essential to maintain shape and clarity and allows for clear vision without glare, light sensitivity and distortion of images.

Changes in the shape of the cornea occur gradually, usually over several years. Keratoconus often begins to develop between the teen years and the early 20s, although it can develop at any age.

Patients with Keratoconus often experience blurred and distorted vision, nearsightedness and a glaring sensitivity to light.

Dr Kumar is a leading cataract, laser refractive and keratoconus specialist in Sydney.  His years of experience and skill make him a leading Keratoconus specialist in Sydney.

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What are the signs and symptoms of Keratoconus?

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The initial symptoms can be very mild and difficult to recognise, depending on the rate of progression. By the time symptoms are apparent, there may already be significant changes to the shape of the cornea. Therefore, identifying and diagnosing Keratoconus in the early stages when the cornea is healthiest is essential.

Our consultant cornea subspecialist at Vision Clinic Sydney, Dr Kumar, is available for regular eye examinations. Using a combination of your medical history and symptoms with top-of-the-line diagnostic equipment, Dr Kumar can form an accurate diagnosis and management plan.

Early symptoms of the disease include:

  • Blurring or distorted vision
  • Haloes, or seeing rings appear around lights
  • Night vision problems
  • Issues with glare

Patients with Keratoconus may experience sudden clouding of vision, known as hydrops.

In some rare cases, your condition can be stable and not require treatment beyond regular checkups by a corneal specialist or ophthalmologist. However, many patients will need treatment to prevent progression of this condition.

What are the treatments for keratoconus?

Appropriate management depends entirely on the stage of the disease, symptoms and the cone shape of your eye.

In mild Keratoconus, treatment can be as simple as glasses and soft contact lenses. Collagen Cross-linking is an effective and safe method to halt the progression of keratoconus. Vision Clinic Sydney is currently the only practice in NSW that can offer patients Transepithelial Collagen Cross-linking with Oxygen enhancement, a safer and less invasive method to stop the progression.

For moderate to severe Keratoconus, you may need more sophisticated hard contact lenses or surgical treatment.

keratoconus surgery Sydney- Vision Clinic Sydney

For progressive Keratoconus, treatment methods include rigid gas-permeable contact lenses, INTACS or KERARINGS(implants that flatten the cornea) and collagen cross-linking (vitamin B2 eye drops with Oxygen supplementation and UV light exposure).

If Keratoconus persists or is severe, corneal transplant surgery can be performed to correct the condition.

Non-surgical options:

For early stages, non-surgical options include:

  • Specialised soft contact lenses
  • Prescription spectacles.

If there are significant changes to the corneal curve with symptoms of progressive Keratoconus, the following options may be recommended:

  • Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses or scleral lenses

Surgical options

Mild to moderate and progressive cases of keratoconus should undergo transepithelial collagen cross-linking with oxygen enhancement.

  • Corneal collagen cross-linking (vitamin B2 eye drops and UV light exposure) is a relatively new development that halts the progression of the disease with proven good long-term impacts. This is performed as day surgery and may still require the use of glasses or contact lenses.

In the case of advanced Keratoconus, surgery may be recommended to halt the disease progression and achieve functional vision. Surgical options include:

Which treatment is best for you?

At Vision Clinic Sydney, we perform a comprehensive assessment and examination of all eye components. We will scan your cornea to determine the shape, help guide an accurate diagnosis and determine what stage the Keratoconus is.

If the cornea displays a particular shape or demonstrates a progressive increase in steepness, then a diagnosis of Keratoconus can be made.

Dr Kumar will work with you to determine the appropriate treatment options and what is best for you. This can be as simple as a pair of glasses or contact lens fitting for advanced Keratoconus, corneal collagen cross-linking or corneal transplantation. 

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Concerned About Your Vision?
We can help.

Why choose Vision Clinic Sydney
for Keratoconus treatment?

When you can no longer achieve clear vision, we are here to help. You receive the best possible care with our highly-skilled and friendly ophthalmologist paired with our state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment. In addition, we create innovative and tailored solutions for each patient.

eye surgeon sydney

Meet Our Team

eye surgeon sydney

In 1998 Dr Nikhil Kumar graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle and completed ophthalmology speciality training in 2008 at the Sydney Eye Hospital. He followed this with fellowship training in cornea surgery for keratoconus and laser correction at the University of Toronto in 2009. He has extensively published on novel treatments for keratoconus.

He has extensive training makes him a leading keratoconus specialist and highly skilled at keratoconus surgery in Sydney.

What is the cost in Sydney?

The cost of treatment for Keratoconus varies at our Vision Clinic Sydney.

The course of action will determine what Dr Kumar recommends based on the condition of your eyes, visual acuity and corneal shape.


Keratoconus is not that common, occurring in fewer than 1,000 cases per year in Australia.

To test for Keratoconus, we use a corneal topographer and anterior segment OCT (a machine that takes highly detailed photos of your eyes), medical history and thorough eye examination to determine the shape and thinness of your cornea.

The exact cause of Keratoconus is not clearly understood, it is presumed to be caused by a weakening of the collagen fibres that maintain the corneal shape. There is a strong association with excessive eye rubbing.

It is more common in patients whose family members have had this condition, as well as certain medical conditions such as atopic dermatitis, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Downs’ syndrome.

If a family member has it, you should be tested, especially if you have any symptoms. Although the exact cause is not known, there is a genetic link putting you at a higher risk of developing this condition.

Although the reshaping of your cornea distorts light entering your eyes, this condition doesn’t tend to cause blindness. You can maintain your visual acuity with a solid management plan and regular checkups.

Keratoconus can cause slight dizziness, especially if only one eye is affected. However, with an appropriate plan and therapy, dizziness should not occur.

You can still drive if you have spoken to your ophthalmologist and received appropriate therapy.

Concerned About Your Vision?

 Our friendly staff can talk to you about your vision issues and arrange the best course of action for diagnosis and treatment. Take advantage of our vision assessment to see how we can make it happen for you.

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