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Find a Keratoconus Specialist Question about Keratoconus? How do I know if I have keratoconus?

KERATOCONUS CAUSES

There are many theories on what might lead someone to get keratoconus, but the exact cause of the eye disease is unknown. Based on research and its association with other conditions, doctors and researchers have come up with some theories. However, no one theory explains it all and some say it may be caused by a combination of factors.

It is believed that genetics and the environment both play a role in keratoconus.

Environment

Genetics

One theory is that keratoconus could be caused by genetics. However, based on current scientific information there is less than a one in ten chance that a blood relative of a keratoconic patient will have keratoconus. So the majority of patients with keratoconus do not have other family members with the disease.

Some studies support that the cause of keratoconus could be developmental in nature, showing that keratoconic corneas lack important anchoring fibrils that structurally stabilize the anterior cornea. This causes the cornea to bulge due to the increased flexibility.

Many genetic diseases are associated with keratoconus, including Trisomy 21 (Down's Syndrome), Marfan's Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Age

Keratoconus typically starts in adolescence and progresses until early adulthood. One theory for why the progression of keratoconus stops in early adulthood is that the UV exposure and natural aging of the cornea results in collagen crosslinking of the cornea. This in turn increases the rigidity of the cornea and prevents progression. Corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) is a procedure that accelerates this natural process, thereby halting the progression of keratoconus in most cases. For more information about CXL, please visit this page.