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Importance of Early Detection

Disease progression can worsen over time, but early diagnosis may help 

Example of Keratoconus Progression Over Time*

*Individual outcomes may vary. The depiction may not reflect the typical keratoconus patient’s experience, and the timeline may vary. It is not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will have the same or similar outcomes.

Without early diagnosis and treatment intervention to preserve your vision, KC can lead to significant vision loss

A recent survey found that the KC diagnosis process typically took months to years, with up to a third of people saying they didn’t receive enough information during this time. Some respondents feared losing their vision altogether.

The same research found that only 22% of those with KC had ever heard of the disease prior to diagnosis, while only 40% of caregivers had heard of it because it had run in their families.*

*Glaukos data on file

Keratoconus Infographic

Do you have any family members with KC?

While the exact cause of KC is unknown, genetics could be a strong factor, along with the environment and hormonal changes.1 Unexplained vision problems within your family should raise an eyebrow. 

People with a parent, sibling, or child who has KC have 15 to 67 times higher risk of developing corneal ectasia compared to patients with no affected relatives.2,3

In addition, an estimated 5%-30% of people with Down syndrome are affected by keratoconus.4,5 

That’s why it’s extremely important to raise awareness of keratoconus in this community and to be aware of the potential signs and symptoms.

How can parents be proactive about monitoring their child’s eye health?

“If they have a family history of keratoconus and the children start needing glasses, I would recommend getting screened for KC – especially starting at age 12.

Dr. Darcy Wolsey, Eye Institute of Utah

Don’t wait to call the eye doctor if you notice changes in your child’s vision. 

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  1. What causes keratoconus? National Keratoconus Foundation (NKCF). Accessed October 11, 2022. 
  2. Fecarotta CM, Huang WW. Pediatric genetic disease of the cornea. J Pediatr Genet. 2014;3(4):195-207. 
  3. Wang Y, Rabinowitz YS, Rotter JI, Yang H. Genetic epidemiological study of keratoconus: evidence for major gene determination. Am J Med Genet. 2000;93(5):403-409.
  4. Alio JL, Vega-Estrada A, Sanz P, et al. Corneal morphologic characteristics in patients with Down syndrome. JAMA Ophthalmology. 2018 Sep 1;136(9):971-978. 
  5. Kristianslund, O., & Drolsum, L. Prevalence of keratoconus in persons with Down syndrome: a review. BMJ Open Ophthalmol. 2021;6(1):e000754.
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