Specialty services


Keratoconus is an eye condition affecting the cornea (the front surface) of the eye. It results in an irregular cornea causing distorted (blurred) vision. Generally, keratoconus develops in the teenage years but may begin before the age of ten or not until adulthood.

The word keratoconus is derived from latin words, kerato- "cornea" and -conus meaning "cone shaped". This describes the normally round shaped cornea becoming cone-shaped with the progression of the condition. The keratoconic cornea also tends to thin with progression of the condition. Generally, keratoconus is a painless condition although it can cause some ocular irritation in more advanced cases.

The severity of keratoconus varies widely between individuals, some may manage with spectacles alone, others may require special contact lenses and a small minority go on to require surgery. Although keratoconus is considered a progressive condition (one that worsens over time) it is common for keratoconus to eventually stabilise (often around the age of 30).

Keratoconus is considered to be a genetic condition, and it is common to find more than one family member (or relative) with the condition. Estimates vary but the prevalence of keratoconus in NZ is approximately 1 in 2000, with 60% of keratoconics being male. Maori and Pacific Island communities appear to have a slightly higher than average prevalence.

Conditions such as allergy (hayfever), eczema and asthma are common in people with keratoconus. Eye rubbing due to ocular allergy is very common in keratoconus and should be avoided as it can can cause the condition to deteriorate more rapidly. Medications can be prescribed by an eyecare professional to reduce the itching due to ocular allergy.

Rose Optometry is a world leader in keratoconus care. It was right here at Roses that Paul Rose developed the Rose K contact lens series, which is now the largest selling lens for keratoconus worldwide.

Keratoconus can be challenging but Rose Optometry are experts in keratoconus management and receive referrals from all around the country. Give us a call or ask your health provider for a referral.

Frequently asked questions

What does an optometrist do?

In NZ an optometrist can calculate the prescription for glasses, fit contact lenses, diagnose and treat eye conditions and infections with medication. They can also manage ocular injuries including removing foreign objects. If surgery or specialist treatment is required they can refer to an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon), hospital, or other health care specialist. NZ-trained optometrists must complete a 5-year degree at the University of Auckland before becoming registered.

What is a dispensing optician (sometimes called a “dispenser”)?

A dispensing optician has formal training in optical dispensing. They are qualified to help a client choose frames, read a prescription, discuss lens options, take measurements, order and fit glasses.

What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who has specialised in the treatment of serious eye disease and ocular surgery such as cataract removal. They do not typically prescribe glasses or contact lenses.

What payment options do you have?

While payment is generally required on the day of appointment, we do offer a number of payment options including Afterpay, Genoapay, QCard, and GoCardless.

Do you accept payment cards from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD/WINZ)?

Yes, we do.

I am with Southern Cross. Can I access my member benefits with you?

Yes, you can.

Do you accept a Community Services Card?

Yes, if you are under 16 years of age you may be eligible for a subsidy for glasses. MSD criteria apply.

Are you open on public holidays?

No. We are closed on public holidays and long weekends as we believe our staff should have the chance to enjoy this time with friends and family.

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