Our results show that asthmatic patients tend to have more severe KC and thus close monitoring for disease progression would be advised, and appropriate treatment strategies may be actioned stabilise the condition that may reduce the need for future corneal transplantation.
To explore a wide range of risk factors associated with the severity of keratoconus (KC).
A cross-sectional study of KC patients was undertaken in Melbourne, Australia. A questionnaire addressing age, gender, educational background, ocular and medical history, smoking and alcohol consumption, and physical examination comprising anthropometric measurements was collected; eye examination was undertaken. The associations between a range of risk factors and the severity of KC were determined using univariate and multivariable linear regression analyses.
A total of 260 KC subjects were included in this study. Mean age of subject was 35.5 (SD = 14.8) years and the majority of the subjects were European 171 (68.2%). Initial univariate regression analysis identified the following risk factors at the p < 0.1 level with KC: higher body mass index, smoking cigarettes, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma were associated with increased severity of KC, whereas eczema was associated with less severe KC. Following multivariable regression analysis, only asthma remained as a significant risk factor associated with 2.2 diopters (D) steeper average mean keratometry compared to KC subjects having no asthma [p = 0.03; β = 2.18; 95% confidence intervals: 1.22, 4.14].
Our study describes the comprehensive assessment of all the known risk factors in a large KC cohort recruited in Australia. Our study has reported asthma as the only risk factor found to be significantly associated with the severity of KC. The results of this study allow us to better understand the aetiology of KC and such knowledge could be useful in instigate systemic management of patients to slow or prevent KC.