Person's eye with Keratoconus


Are you experiencing blurred vision or sensitivity to light? Do you notice a ring of discoloration around your iris?

These are symptoms of keratoconus, a corneal condition that can lead to significant vision impairment.

Our team in Denver, CO, can diagnose and treat your keratoconus to restore your vision.

Don't Risk Your Sight

Prompt treatment for vision issues can save your eyesight. If you experience sudden changes in vision, light sensitivity, or other visual disturbances, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Call our ophthalmology office in Denver, CO, to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.

What Is Keratoconus? A Treatable Corneal Condition


Keratoconus occurs when the outer dome-shaped portion of your eye (cornea) thins and begins to slightly bulge. A healthy cornea has a round shape; a cornea affected by keratoconus is shaped like a cone. Typically, symptoms first occur during puberty or the late teens in the form of blurred vision and sensitivity to light. Early to moderate stages can be treated with noninvasive solutions like corrective lenses and corneal crosslinking, but more advanced stages may require surgery to replace the corneal tissue.

A Closer Look at Keratoconus

Normal Cornea vs Cornea with Keratoconus
A normal, healthy cornea is dome-shaped and round. A cornea affected with keratoconus will bulge and is shaped more like a cone, which can cause symptoms such as blurring and light sensitivity. 

How Is My Vision Affected By Keratoconus?

This corneal condition can alter your vision in two ways:

Irregular Astigmatism

As your cornea changes shape from a dome to a cone, the surface can become curved and uneven in multiple directions. This is called irregular astigmatism. Unlike regular astigmatism, where the corneal curve is mostly in one direction, this form of astigmatism is uneven, or wavy, in multiple directions.


As the bulge expands, light no longer focuses on the retina properly, resulting in blurred distance vision. You will still be able to see objects up close clearly, but distant objects will look blurred. This is called nearsightedness, and can easily be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

The Symptoms Of Keratoconus

The symptoms of keratoconus can change as you age and the condition progresses. Typical symptoms include:

Blurred Vision

Distorted Vision

Light Sensitivity

Difficult Driving at Night

Frequent Changes in Vision

Clouded Vision

Sudden Worsening Vision

Fleischer Ring (a pigmented ring around the cornea)

Keratoconus and Pediatric Patients

Symptoms of keratoconus often begin to appear when a child hits puberty through their teenage years. It is important to address these symptoms in pediatric patients as soon as possible to preserve your child's vision. Prompt treatment can slow this progression to maintain their eyesight.

Protecting the delicate cornea is critical, and your child's doctor may suggest allergy medicine or drops to prevent rubbing of the eyes. If your child experiences symptoms of keratoconus or a sudden change of vision, contact our Denver practice.

Having Symptoms? Contact Our Denver, CO, Practice

Dr. Justin Coco and his team can efficiently diagnose keratoconus and provide effective treatment. Keratoconus can make living your daily life challenging and can even put your safety at risk. If you are having difficulty seeing, or difficulty driving at night, don't hesitate to call our office. Dr. Coco can get you the keratoconus treatment or other vision solution you need so you can go back to seeing clearly once again.

Stop living with blurred vision. Call our Denver, CO, practice to request your appointment today.

Denver, CO, Chooses Us For Their Eye Care


Anthony Goetz


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I had the absolute best eye exam with BOTH Dr. Coco and Dr. Cushing. I have keratoconus and have never been able to find a doctor who was able to perfectly fit my eyes for contacts, until I came to Hines Sight. Their staff is the absolute BEST

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Justin Petrafeso (GoBuffs)


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EVERY person working here is friendly and professional. They fixed my issue and put me at ease. As a first time patient, I’m here to stay! I highly recommend them.

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The Cause Of Keratoconus


The cause of keratoconus is unknown. However, the common finding is that it results from a lack of collagen in the cornea. Your cornea consists of a meshwork of collagen fibers. When these fibers are weakened, the cornea begins to bulge outward, resulting in keratoconus.

Keratoconus and Corneal Scarring

Some cases of keratoconus can cause corneal scarring. A corneal scar may require corneal transplant surgery. Corneal scarring from keratoconus can happen in two ways:

Corneal Swelling

Man rubbing his eyes in discomfort

In some cases of keratoconus, your cornea could rapidly swell and cause a sudden reduction in your vision. This occurs when the inner corneal lining breaks down and allows fluid to enter your cornea. The swelling typically goes down on its own, but the rapid swelling can leave a corneal scar that can affect your vision.

Advanced Keratoconus

Person with severe keratoconus

Advanced stages of keratoconus can cause corneal scarring. If your cornea progressively gets more cone-shaped, the scarring typically occurs where the cone bulges most. This scar on your cornea will take a toll on your vision.

State-of-the-Art Technology for an Accurate Diagnosis

Your vision problems could be caused by numerous factors other than keratoconus. That is why it is crucial to visit an experienced eye doctor to ensure you are being treated for the right cause of your vision issues. We use the latest in technology to provide the best results and the most accurate diagnoses. We use advanced optical coherence tomography (OCT) tests to identify retinal diseases, ultramodern lasers for those seeking LASIK, and much more. We pride ourselves on being one of the most technologically advanced eye care offices in Colorado.

Do not hesitate to discover the cause of your vision impairment. Call our Denver, CO, office today to schedule your appointment.

"I Always Have a Great Visit!"


Melissa Martin


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Staff and Dr.Cushing were very kind. Did not feel pressured to purchase contacts from them, gave me a prescription with no questions asked. Clean environment.

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Carol Emrick


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Staff was friendly and efficient, keeping me informed about wait times. It was a pleasant experience where all my questions were answered and Dr Coco was thorough, informative and relaxed.

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How Keratoconus Is Diagnosed

During your eye exam, your doctor will review your eye health and family history. If someone in your family has keratoconus, you should be tested for the condition once a year.

"If diagnosed with keratoconus, your symptoms can be easily managed with prescription glasses and contact lenses."
"If diagnosed with keratoconus, your symptoms can be easily managed with prescription glasses and contact lenses."

Corneal Topography

This is the best way to diagnose and track the progression of this keratoconus. Your doctor will take a detailed image of your cornea that creates a map of its shape, curve, and thickness. This test can detect keratoconus in its early stages and it can also track its progression.

Slit-Lamp Examination

In this exam, a vertical beam of light is directed at your cornea while your doctor looks at your eye with a microscope. Your doctor will be able to evaluate the shape and curve of your cornea. This test can help your doctor see any abnormalities in the outer and middle layers of your corneal tissue.

Corneal Pachymetry

This test measures the thickness of your cornea. This is a quick, painless test where a probe, the pachymeter, is placed on your cornea to measure its thickness. This is also a common test for glaucoma.

Eye Refraction

This is used to test your vision and to determine your prescription for glasses or contact lenses. During the exam, you will look through a device that has a wheel of different lenses to see which ones help you to see clearly.

The Stages Of Keratoconus

The way that our Denver, CO, doctors treat your keratoconus depends on the stage of the condition. There are three stages: early, intermediate, and advanced.

Early Stage

Symptoms of the early stage of keratoconus can typically be corrected with artificial tears, glasses, and contact lenses.

Intermediate Stage

When glasses and contact lenses are not enough, your doctor may recommend corneal collagen cross-linking.

Advanced Stage

In this stage of keratoconus, the cone is too prominent for the patient to be able to comfortably wear contact lenses. Your doctor may recommend a corneal ring or a corneal transplant.

Early Treatment Can Help Call Our Denver Practice Today

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition. The sooner it is treated, the better. Early treatment can prevent the need for more invasive procedures later on. If you have any changes in your vision or any symptoms of keratoconus, a visit to our Denver office can put your mind at ease and possibly save your eyesight.

Don't wait; request an appointment today. You can contact us online or call us at:

(303) 777-3277

More Praise For Our Denver, CO, Office


Pamela Clifton


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I had an excellent experience with Hines Sight (except for booking on Zocdoc, which was not their fault). Everyone was very, very nice, from the people working in the office to an absolutely awesome technician, and Dr. Cushing was just terrific! I am definitely going to be going back from now on.

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Rebecca Wheeler


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I just moved to town and needed to find a reliable eye doctor to get my glasses and contact lens prescription. These guys were recommended to me by my neighbor. Im so glad I took her advice. The staff from top to bottom was incredible. They are so warm and welcoming. They get you in fast and listen to every word you, as the patient, says. 10/10 !!!

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Corneal Cross-Linking Treatment What You Should Know and Who Is a Candidate

Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive procedure that can slow or even stop the progression of keratoconus. This outpatient procedure is FDA-approved and can help preserve your vision and prevent the need for a corneal transplant.

Who Should Consider Corneal Cross-Linking?

Optimal candidates for corneal cross-linking include patients who:

  • Have not responded to other treatments
  • Have symptoms that have progressively worsened
  • Have mild-moderate keratoconus
  • Are between the ages of 14-40
  • Do not have corneal scarring

It is important to remember that corneal cross-linking does not reverse the changes to your cornea that have already occurred. The procedure does help to keep symptoms from worsening and slows the progression of the disease.

The Corneal Cross-Linking Process For Intermediate Stage Keratoconus

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a keratoconus treatment that can help restore some of the cornea's strength and shape. It involves three fundamental steps:

Apply the Solution

Your doctor will apply a vitamin B solution to your eyes.

Ultraviolet Light Activation

The vitamin B solution is activated under ultraviolet light for around 30 minutes.

Collagen Bond Reformation

Cross-linking therapy allows new collagen bonds to form and helps prevent your cornea from bulging further.

Does Corneal Collagen
Cross-Linking Hurt?


Your doctor will apply numbing drops before the procedure so you do not feel pain during treatment. However, some mild discomfort is to be expected for a few days, and it is important to not rub your eyes. Sunglasses can help with light sensitivity, and your doctor can recommend or prescribe medications for pain if needed. If you experience severe pain or a sudden worsening of your vision, it is important that you contact our Denver practice so your doctor can address your symptoms as soon as possible.

"Wonderful staff, everyone was so friendly and super helpful! I will be referring friends and family to come to this office!!"  Des

Keratoconus Treatment for Advanced Stages

When glasses, contact lenses, and other noninvasive solutions are no longer enough to correct your vision, surgery may be recommended. If surgery is the right treatment for you, our Colorado eye doctors can recommend you to a trusted specialist to perform corneal transplant surgery.

"Corneal transplant is an outpatient surgery that can be performed in under one hour."

Day of Procedure

"Corneal transplant is an outpatient surgery that can be performed in under one hour."


A local anesthetic will be applied. You will be awake, but unable to feel anything being done to your eyes during the procedure.


Your doctor will remove the center of your cornea and replace it with the donor corneal tissue.


Once the donor cornea is placed, your doctor will suture it in place. These stitches can be removed later at our Denver, CO, office.


Your vision could remain blurry for around six months after the corneal transplant. Your doctor will prescribe you medication to help prevent transplant rejection and infection. Glasses and contacts will most likely still need to be worn after the procedure to provide the sharpest vision.

Candidates for Corneal Transplant

Only 15 to 20 percent of patients suffering from keratoconus will require a corneal transplant. Our doctors may recommend a corneal transplant to preserve your vision if:

  • Other treatments for keratoconus fail
  • The disease has progressed to the advanced stages
  • Your cornea is exceptionally thin
  • Your visual changes have progressed to the point that glasses or contacts no longer help

Your Eyesight Can Be
Safely Restored 
At Our On-Site Surgical Facility

Our office includes an onsite surgical center, making it possible to perform every type of keratoconus treatment in one location.

Our Denver ophthalmology office provides a home-like, welcoming atmosphere where patients have access to tea, coffee, and refreshments. Located across the street from Porter Adventist Hospital and near Denver University, Hines Sight is proud to be in a hub of cutting-edge medical treatment and research.

If you are experiencing symptoms of keratoconus or any other changes in your vision, request an appointment today or call:

(303) 777-3277

What Are the Risks of Keratoconus Surgery?

Like any surgery, there is a risk of complications like infection and unsatisfactory outcomes associated with a corneal transplant. However, patients can take comfort in knowing that corneal transplants have a high success rate. When the procedure is performed by an experienced ophthalmologist like Dr. Coco, risks associated with corrective surgery for keratoconus are greatly minimized. Thanks to his refined skills and our strict sterilization standards, you can expect a safe procedure with a high likelihood of a satisfying outcome.


Patient education is a cornerstone of our practice. Our doctors will explain your procedure to you step-by-step and are happy to answer all of your questions before your surgery. 

Paying For Treatment

Our practice in Denver, CO, accepts most insurance plans. Our compassionate team will work with your insurance company to help you get the most out of your benefits. 

To help you budget for any out-of-pocket expenses, we can coordinate financing through CareCredit®. Plans are flexible, allowing you to make low-interest payments over a period of six to 60 months. 

To explore your financing options, speak with our staff during a consultation or call our office at (303) 777-3277.

Can LASIK Help My Vision If I Have Keratoconus?


While LASIK is a popular choice for people dealing with common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, it cannot prevent or treat keratoconus. LASIK can actually be dangerous if you have keratoconus because it can further damage your cornea and worsen your vision.

Denver, Colorado Loves Hines Sight


Jennifer Briscoe


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I've been going to Hines-Sight for seven years now and always have a great visit. The staff are friendly, kind and very patient. Dr. Cushing is so caring and such a great listener. I will continue to go to Hines-Sight for years to come!

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Katherine thayer


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Have been a patient at this practice for 20 years. Office personnel are caring, friendly and competent. Have had cataract and LASIK surgeries with Dr Coco and highly recommend him.

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The team at Hines Sight

Hines Sight

The team at Hines Sight works together to provide the greater Denver, CO, area with the best possible experience. Our doctors are affiliated with professional organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • American Osteopathic College of Ophthalmology
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • International Society of Refractive Surgery
  • Sigma Sigma Phi Osteopathic Honors Society

Schedule your consultation by contacting us online or calling us at (303) 777-3277.

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