Keratoconus: Contact Lens or Keratoplasty?

William E. Smiddy, Tracey R. Hamburg, Gregory P. Kracher, Walter J. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The success rate of contact lens fitting and rate of progression to keratoplasty were evaluated for 115 consecutive patients with keratoconus. Of 190 nonoperated eyes that needed to be fit, 25 (13%) could not be fit, whereas 165 eyes (87%) could be fit. Most of these eyes had been referred for keratoplasty after previous contact lens fittings had no longer been successful. Of the 165 eyes that could be fit, 51 (31 %) ultimately needed keratoplasty after an average of 38.4 months of lens wear, and 114 eyes (69%) did not require keratoplasty over an average follow-up interval of 63 months of wearing contact lenses. The average initial keratoplasty reading in these two groups was 56.8 and 51.8 diopters (D), respectively. Special design, bispheric lenses were required in 125 of these 165 eyes (76%) and frequent lens changes were necessary. Of 88 postoperative eyes, 53 (60%) wore contact lenses for best vision. Keratoplasty can be delayed or avoided in many keratoconus patients by using contact lenses, especially special design, bispheric lenses. Also, keratoconus eyes often need contact lenses after keratoplasty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-492
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


  • bispheric (Soper-cone) lens
  • contact lens
  • keratoconus
  • penetrating keratoplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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