What is Corneal ectasia? - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment | Corneal ectasia vs Keratoconus

Read abut What is Corneal ectasia? - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment | Corneal ectasia vs Keratoconus.

Clear vision is made possible by the cornea's critical role in concentrating light onto the retina at the back of the eye. However, in people with corneal ectasia, the cornea weakens and starts to protrude, leading to visual disturbances and refractive errors. Although corneal ectasia and keratoconus are similar, it's crucial to tell them apart.

What is Corneal ectasia?

Corneal ectasia, a degenerative eye condition, causes the cornea, the transparent, dome-shaped front surface of the eye, to thin and bulge. Due to its comparable traits, it is frequently mistaken for a different disorder known as keratoconus.


    Corneal ectasia is the term used to describe the abnormal thinning and bulging of the cornea beyond its typical curvature. It is a progressive disorder that can cause myopia, irregular astigmatism, and visual distortion. Corneal ectasia, which can impair one or both eyes, frequently first manifests in adolescence or early adulthood.

    What is Corneal ectasia - Symptoms, Causes, Treatment  Corneal ectasia vs Keratoconus

    Corneal Ectasia Symptoms

    Individuals may experience different corneal ectasia symptoms. Typical indications and symptoms include:

    • Vision that is hazy or distorted
    • Increased light sensitivity (photophobia)
    • Frequent contact lens or eyeglasses replacement
    • Halos or ghosting around lights
    • Redness or inflammation of the eyes

    Corneal ectasia Causes

    Although its specific causes are not well understood, a number of variables have a role in the emergence of corneal ectasia. Some possible causes are as follows:

    • Genetic propensity
    • Trauma or persistent eye rubbing
    • Incorrect usage of contact lenses
    • Inadequate corneal thickness following laser eye procedures like LASIK

    Risk Factors

    It is more likely to develop corneal ectasia if a number of risk factors exist. 

    • A family history of keratoconus or corneal ectasia
    • Excessive rubbing of the eyes
    • A background of specific eye disorders, such as persistent inflammation of the eye or eye trauma
    • Undergoing laser refractive procedures without receiving the necessary screening and assessment

    Corneal Ectasia Diagnosis

    An eye care specialist will carry out a thorough eye exam to identify corneal ectasia. This might entail:

    • Taking a look at the patient's medical and family history
    • Evaluating refractive faults and visual acuity
    • Measuring corneal thickness and curvature
    • Examining the shape and integrity of the cornea using corneal tomography and topography

    Treatment Options

    The goal of treating corneal ectasia is to stabilize the condition, restore eyesight, and stop additional corneal thinning. Both non-surgical and surgical therapy techniques are available.

    Non-Surgical Treatments:

    The following are non-surgical remedies for corneal ectasia:

    Glasses and Contact Lenses

    Better visual acuity can be achieved with the use of eyeglasses or specialized contact lenses like scleral lenses or hybrid lenses.

    Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL)

    The goal of this therapy is to stop the progression of corneal ectasia by strengthening the collagen fibers in the cornea by applying riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops and exposing the cornea to UV light.

    Surgical Treatment:

    Surgical procedures may be considered when non-surgical treatments are ineffective:

    Intrastromal Corneal Ring Segments (ICRS)

    The cornea is flattened and reshaped using these tiny crescent-shaped implants, which enhances visual acuity.

    Corneal Transplantation

    A partial or full-thickness corneal transplant may be carried out if the vision is severely compromised if the corneal thinning is extreme.

    Corneal Ectasia vs Keratoconus

    Corneal ectasia is frequently used to describe a variety of corneal conditions characterized by corneal thinning and protrusion. Contrarily, the term "keratoconus" specifically refers to a non-inflammatory corneal ectasia. Although keratoconus is a specific kind of corneal ectasia, not all occurrences of corneal ectasia fall under this category.

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