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Incidence and severity of keratoconus in Asir province, Saudi Arabia


Aim: To assess the incidence and associated signs and symptoms of patients with keratoconus in Asir Province, Saudi Arabia.

Methods: 125 new keratoconus patients (51 male, 74 female; mean age 18.5 (SD 3.8) years; range 8–28 years) were recruited from referrals to the department of ophthalmology, Asir Central Hospital, over a 1 year period. Age, visual acuity, and keratometry were recorded along with clinical signs and symptoms.

Results: The incidence of keratoconus in Asir Province is 20 cases per 100 000 population. Also, the disease severity is high, as indicated by an early mean age (17.7 (3.6) years) with advanced stage keratoconus. Visual acuity, with either spectacles or rigid contact lenses, was 6/12 or better in 98% of eyes measured. Just over half (56%) of patients had atopic ocular disease. 16% of patients had a positive family history of the disease and 16% had atopic dermatitis (eczema and/or vitiligo).

Conclusion: The incidence and severity of keratoconus in Asir Province, Saudi Arabia, is high with an early onset and more rapid progress to the severe disease stage at a young age. This might reflect the influence of genetic and/or environmental factor(s) in the aetiology of keratoconus.

  • keratoconus
  • cornea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • ultraviolet radiation

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