Keratoconus is relatively common in New Zealand, so Buchanan Optometrists have invested in a corneal topographer to accurately map your eye shape and provide comprehensive care for individuals affected by this eye disease.

Keratoconus is a thinning of the central zone of the cornea (the transparent front surface of the eye), which results in the cornea becoming cone-shaped. Generally keratoconus affects both eyes, although the degree of progression is often unequal between the eyes. Initially the affected individual may notice that their vision is blurry and/or distorted, and this can be corrected with spectacles in the early stages. 

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Kera is greek for ‘cornea’, and conus is greek for ‘cone’.

keratoconusKeratoconus typically affects:

  • individuals who excessively rub their eyes
  • people who have another 'atopic' disease, such as asthma, eczema, hayfever, allergy
  • those who have family members affected by keratoconus

Onset can occur between 8 - 45 years old, although the majority of individuals first notice symptoms between 16 and 30 years.

In the early stages keratoconus causes myopia (short-sightedness) and astigmatism, and this can typically be corrected by spectacles. As the condition progresses, the cornea becomes highly irregular and spectacles can no longer adequately correct the vision. At this stage rigid gas permeable contact lenses are required. (Soft contact lenses are typically not an option because they can not correct the irregular astigmatism). There is a New Zealand government subsidy available to help with the cost of these specific contact lenses.

Buchanan Optometrists has a corneal topographer which enables us to map the shape of the cornea and accurately monitor changes to the cornea shape, and also accurately fit any rigid gas permeable contact lenses, if required.

There is no publicly-funded treatment for keratoconus. However, there is a procedure called Corneal Collagen Crosslinking, which essentially makes the cornea tougher and enables it to stay the correct shape. We very much recommend every keratonic person to undergo Collagen Corneal Crosslinking and will refer to an appropriate ophthalmologist if that is required.


Buchanan Optometrists Ltd optometry practice in Christchurch is located at Church Corner within the Riccarton Clinic. As an independent optical practice we have the freedom to use suppliers that provide the best service and products to you.

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Monday, Wendsday & Thursday
8:30am -5:30pm
8.30am - 7:00pm
8:30am -4:30pm

First Floor
Riccarton Clinic 
6 Yaldhurst Road
Upper Riccarton 
New Zealand
03 341 4850