Children's Hospital Colorado
Eye Care

Keratoconus

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What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a disease affecting the cornea, the dome-shaped clear window at the front of the eye. In keratoconus, the cornea thins and bulges out in the center to form a cone. This change in shape and thickness causes the light rays entering your eye to become out of focus, which results in blurry, distorted vision. It typically affects both eyes, but the severity can be different between each eye. Keratoconus is a progressive disease, meaning that the changes to the cornea can worsen over time if the condition is not treated.

What causes keratoconus?

Doctors believe the disorder is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While there is no known gene that directly causes keratoconus, it can run in families. It is also associated with certain conditions like Down syndrome, as well as patients with allergies and excessive eye rubbing.

Who gets keratoconus?

Studies suggest that keratoconus affects 1 in 2000 people. While the condition typically begins in early adolescence and progresses into the mid-30s, the onset of the disease can vary widely. Each gender is affected equally and there is no known association with race or ethnicity.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Robert Enzenauer, MD, MPH/MSPH

Robert Enzenauer, MD, MPH/MSPH

Ophthalmology, Pediatrics

Rebecca Braverman, MD

Rebecca Braverman, MD

Ophthalmology

Emily McCourt, MD

Emily McCourt, MD

Ophthalmology

Jasleen Singh, MD

Jasleen Singh, MD

Ophthalmology