Causes of Keratoconus
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According to the National Eye Institute, keratoconus is the most common corneal dystrophy in the United States, affecting one in 2,000 Americans. Keratoconus is not fully understood, and its progression is unpredictable. Dr. Stark explained that the cause of the condition is multifactorial.
“Keratoconus is an abnormality of the collagen and can be associated with skin disease, such as atopic dermatitis,” he said. “So the condition is partly linked to this skin condition and partly linked to excessive eye rubbing.” About 7 percent of those with the condition have a family history of keratoconus. “We see this condition in families, especially in the Middle East where cousins sometimes marry cousins,” Dr. Stark added.
Keratoconus has also been linked to several other eye diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa, retinopathy of prematurity and vernal keratoconjunctivitis, as well as systemic diseases such as Leber’s congenital amaurosis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Down syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta.
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