Keratoconus International Consortium

About the KIC

Established by CERA in 2016, the Keratoconus International Consortium (KIC) brings together over 40 corneal research groups around the world.

About keratoconus

Keratoconus is a common eye disorder affecting the cornea.

It is characterised by progressive corneal thinning that results in an abnormally steep cornea, irregular astigmatism and decreased vision.

In most cases, keratoconus is diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 30 years.

The cause of keratoconus is not clear, and there is no known cure. Diagnosis at the early stages of the disease is important, as a treatment called ‘corneal cross linking’ (CXL) can be performed to slow the progression of the disease and help to stabilise the vision.

For those with visual loss, glasses and contact lenses can help improve vision in most affected people.

In advanced cases, corneal transplant surgery is required to restore vision. The Australian Corneal Graft Registry estimates that keratoconus patients typically need up to five corneal transplants during their life.

Why we need the KIC

One in every 84 Australian 20-year-olds has keratoconus. This is one of the highest reported rates in the world. The cost of diagnosing and managing keratoconus is approximately $44.7 million per year in Australia.

Issues related to the diagnosis and management of keratoconus are also universal. These include:

  • no standard system for the diagnosis or classification of keratoconus
  • no accepted definition of progression
  • no ability to predict prognosis and outcomes of treatment for individuals
  • lack of understanding of the most appropriate treatment and timing among different age groups.

Keratoconus is a complex and highly variable condition.

There is a need to expand keratoconus research towards a global level. This is to overcome differences in study design, patient populations, sampling methods, outcome measurements and length of follow-up that have precluded the development of clinical and generalisable decision-making for keratoconus.

Our purpose

The KIC enables scientists and clinicians around world to combine their research efforts. It aims to build greater global understanding of the causes of keratoconus and risk factors, and how it can be better diagnosed and treated.

By contributing to a collective global database, consortium members will – for the first time – have access to de-identified data  from different ethnicities and geographical locations. A global network of research collaborators facilitates larger and more comprehensive research projects.

The overall aims of the KIC are to:

  • explore methods for early diagnosis and staging of disease severity among different populations
  • identify clinical, genetic and other risk factors that contribute to keratoconus causation, progression and response to treatment
  • establish longitudinal follow-up to analyse the effectiveness and variables influencing treatment outcomes.

Our people

The KIC is a worldwide collaboration led by the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA).

CERA is an independent medical research institute established in 1996 that has grown into Australia’s leading eye research institute. It is closely affiliated with the University of Melbourne Department of Ophthalmology, and co-located with the Department at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

KIC executive and members

Meet the researchers leading the KIC and our worldwide members.

Become a KIC member

Researchers and corneal specialists who are able to collect and contribute keratoconus data are welcome to join the consortium.


Projects under the KIC are supported by the Angior Family Foundation, Keratoconus Australia, a Perpetual Impact Philanthropy grant and a Lions Eye Foundation Fellowship. CERA receives Operational Infrastructure Support from the Victorian Government.


The funding organisations do not have any role in the design or conduct of projects.

For further information about the KIC, contact:
Dr Srujana Sahebjada
KIC Project Manager, CERA
Email: srujana.sahebjada@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9929 8951