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Assessment of structural corneal changes and environmental risk factors in adolescent and adult patients with keratoconus

Poster Details

First Author: M.Maleszka-Kurpiel POLAND

Co Author(s):    M. Robak   B. Czarnota-Nowakowska   K. Jaskiewicz   M. Gajecka           

Abstract Details


To investigate clinical signs, morphological changes and possible environmental risk factors in adolescent patients with KTCN.


Optegra Eye Health Care Clinic, Poznan, Poland Institute of Human Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan, Poland


15 patients were examined and divided into two subgroups: 5 adolescent patients with KTCN, and 10 adult patients with KTCN.After complex ophthalmological examination each participant completed an epidemiological questionnaire. Patients from both subgroups underwent the CXL procedure. For purpose of the future transcriptome study corneal epithelium derived from each patient was collected and divided into three specific regions (central, middle, periphery), afterwards a high quality RNA (extraction kit: Single Cell RNA Purification Kit, Norgen Biotek) checked on Bioanalyzer Instrument (Agilent RNA 6000 Pico Kit) was extracted from the corneal samples and stored for future applications including the transcriptome analyzes.


None of the assessed clinical signs and corneal tomographic parameters was statistically significant different between the subgroups. There was also no difference in parameters of corneal epithelium. The quantity of environmental risk factors of developing KTCN assessed based on the answers in the questionnaires was positively correlated with the age of patient (Spearman's Rho correlation, rs = 0.81867, p [2-tailed] = 0.0002), and it means that it was statistically significant higher in adult patients than in adolescents (p=0.005, Mann Whitney test, two-sided, 95% confidence interval), there was no statistically significant difference for a single factor as evaluated alone between the subgroups.


We found positive correlation between the age of patient and quantity of environmental risk factors. No structural differences were found in corneal epithelium and clinical signs between the adolescent and adult patients. Based on our findings we hypothesize, that probably KTCN in adolescent patients is caused in a greater extent by genetic factors, and KTCN in adults is caused in a greater extent by environmental factors. In connection with the above we are convinced that molecular studies, including the planned transcriptomic investigation are indispensable. The transcriptomic signatures of particular corneal epithelium regions will enable understanding of keratoconus progression processes.

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