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Does ethnicity influence the severity of keratoconus at diagnosis?

Poster Details

First Author: E.Kreps BELGIUM

Co Author(s):    C. Koppen   -                 

Abstract Details


The aim of the study was to compare the clinical stage of keratoconus between Caucasians and non-Caucasians at diagnosis in our hospital. Epidemiologic studies suggest ethnic variability in prevalence of keratoconus, but few research has been performed to assess the severity of keratoconus at diagnosis between groups of various ethnicity.


Department of Ophthalmology, Antwerp University Hospital, Belgium


We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients with a recent diagnosis of keratoconus (< 3 years of first visit). We excluded patients aged > 40 years, patients with prior surgical procedures and patients with mental retardation. We extracted the following data from their charts: age at diagnosis, maximal keratometry values of the better and worse eye (as measured using the sagittal curvature map on Scheimpflug tomography), thinnest point of the cornea (as obtained by Scheimpflug tomography) and etnicity. For statistical analysis, Mann Whitney U test was performed and a p-value <0.05 was statistically significant.


We included 215 patients, of which 27.4% were non-Caucasians mainly of Turkish and Moroccan descent. There was no statistical difference in age at diagnosis between the first (Caucasians) and second (non-Caucasians) group (mean 25.4 vs 27.4 years; p = 0.4354). Both the better (p = 0.00056) and worse (p = 0.00016) eye had significantly higher maximal keratometry values in the non-Caucasian group. The corneas were also significantly thinner in the non-Caucasian group, for the better and worse eye (p<0.00001 and p<0.00001, respectively).


In our clinical practice, non-Caucasians are diagnosed at the same age as Caucasians. However, they present with more severe disease in terms of maximal keratometry and pachymetry, both in the better and worse eye.

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