Keratoconus and Corneal Ectasia

Henry Ford offers advanced treatment for keratoconus and corneal ectasia, including participating in a multicenter corneal cross-linking clinical trial.

Keratoconus and corneal ectasia are two conditions that affect the structure of the cornea, the clear outer layer of the eye.


In keratoconus, the normally round cornea becomes progressively thinner and weaker, causing it to bulge outward in the middle and change to a cone shape. This can cause vision problems that range from moderate to severe astigmatism and nearsightedness, as well as swelling and scarring of corneal tissue. Although the cause of keratoconus is unknown, there may be a hereditary link. The disease usually presents in adolescence.

Corneal ectasia

In corneal ectasia, the cornea also protrudes and bulges outward. Corneal ectasia almost always occurs when the cornea has been weakened by LASIK or PRK surgery.

Keratoconus treatment

Depending on how far the disease has progressed, keratoconus treatment may include:

  • Glasses: These may be used early in the progression of keratoconus to correct vision issues.
  • Contact lenses: These may include soft contacts or, if necessary, hard (gas permeable) contacts.
  • Intacts: These intracorneal inserts help to flatten the cornea, and are used when patients can no longer tolerate contact lenses or when the lenses cease to correct their vision. Intacts do not necessarily slow or halt progression of keratoconus and do not prevent a potential corneal transplant.
  • Corneal transplant: If the disease progresses to the point where none of the typical treatments work, corneal transplant surgery may be required. We offer two kinds of corneal transplant, full and partial.

Corneal collagen cross-linking

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is currently participating in a multicenter clinical trial of a novel treatment for keratoconus and corneal ectasia. This clinical trial is investigating corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL), a treatment designed to delay the progression of keratoconus and corneal ectasia by strengthening corneal tissue.

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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Contact us to schedule an appointment, call (800) 436-7936.

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