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Keratoconus, a young person’s eye condition affecting their corneas


We often think that progressively worsening eye conditions are related to increasing age, however, as we often see at Clinica London, young people can also be the target of certain eye diseases. Young people may not always pay attention to their conditions and put things off, which in the case of keratoconus is a big mistake to make because the sooner corneal treatment is administered, the less negative impact this condition will have on the young person’s sight long-term.


Mr Sajjad Ahmed is treating keratoconus patients with corneal cross-linking (CCL) at Clinica London, which is an out-patient treatment that successfully strengthens the cornea. The convivial surroundings and friendly staff of the clinic relaxes the young patient and reassures them, whereas a large hospital may make some teenagers and young adults feel very anxious.


Here we have put together a list of questions which young people often ask about keratoconus. The biggest take is the success rate of cross-linking currently stands at 95%. The advancement in keratoconus has gone from strength to strength and we are proud to deliver this treatment to our patients at our comfortable and relaxing clinic.


What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory degenerative condition affecting the cornea, which is the transparent window of the front of the eye. In keratoconus, the typical shape of the cornea progressively becomes thinner, bulges forwards and becomes more cone-like. This cone shape results in poor focusing and blurred vision. Keratoconus is a gradually worsening disease, causing worsening of poor vision, with myopia (short-sightedness) and astigmatism.

Can you go blind if you have keratoconus?

Keratoconus doesn’t usually lead to complete blindness; however, it can cause significant vision loss, irregular astigmatism, blurred vision, myopia (short-sightedness0, glare, blurred vision, and in some cases extreme sensitivity to light.


How do you get keratoconus?

Keratoconus is caused by your genetics, and occurs in up to one in 450 people. It is more common in non-caucasians, eye trauma which is sometimes caused by consistent, aggressive rubbing of the eye in atopic eye disease, and associated with other eye diseases including vernal keratoconjunctivitis (a form of childhood allergic eye disease), retinitis pigmentosa, and retinopathy of prematurity.


How serious is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is fairly serious, depending on the degree of your vision loss. This is a life-long condition, which untreated is progressive as a young adult. You are able to delay this progression or even halt it through treatment using corneal collagen cross-linking. If left untreated, keratoconus could advance significantly, leading to the need of the patient undertaking a corneal transplant.


How fast does keratoconus progress?

Keratoconus may keep progressing over 10-20 years and sometimes longer. It starts at puberty and continues into early adulthood.


How successful is cross-linking?

Corneal cross-linking success rate in preventing the progression of keratoconus is almost 95%, and the remaining 5% may require the treatment a second time.


What is cross-linking a surgery?

Corneal cross-linking (also known as CXL) is a minimally invasive procedure that uses ultraviolet light, and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) eye drops to strengthen the corneal collagen fibres, therefore mimicking the normal age-related stiffening of the cornea, known as natural cross-linking. It is done at an out-patient visit in our clean treatment room under local anaesthetic drops.


For further information of Mr Sajjad Ahmad and Corneal Cross Linking, please contact Reception on 020 7935 7990 or email contact@clinicalondon.co.uk


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