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Ophthalmology & Optometry/Was a scratch the cause of my mild Keratoconus


Hello Dr Shroff,

About 18 years ago aged 19 I was diagnosed with Keratoconus in my left eye. Thankfully the condition stabilised and is relatively mild. It is correctable with spectacles sufficiently for driving, but I don't enjoy clarity of vision because of the astigmatism it causes.

I have a question which I have long been wanting an answer on:
When in technology class at school aged ~15 a tiny fragment of acrylic plastic flew up at speed in to my left eye from a sanding wheel being operated by someone else. I remember my eye stinging and watering, and needing to keep my eye shut until the next day. I remember mild discomfort & itching for a few days and rubbing it a fair amount (I think it was still watering and hence lubricated). I didn't seek medical examination as I have always been squeamish about eyes. I couldn't see any plastic in the eye when I examined it so I think it must have bounced off but scratched my cornea in the process.

My question is: if my cornea was scratched at age 15 and I rubbed my watery eye through the eyelid periodically over the following few days, could that have caused my cornea to scar or heal with distortion, leading to my mild Keratoconus condition?
Would a scar-induced distortion be obvious from my corneal topography image?

Dear Max,
Thank you for the detailed history. I can understand that you want to know the reason of keratoconus.
Yes, rubbing of the eyes does lead to change in shape of cornea, however, not with one episode, but this happens when one is habituated with rubbing the eyes hard. I doubt that one incidence could have caused the keratoconus.
A good corneal specialist using advanced Topography and clinical examination should be able to conclude a correct diagnosis. A corneal scar behaves differently, so one cannot confuse that with keratoconus, no matter how much the distortion caused by the scar.
The most important thing once diagnosed with k'conus is to make sure that the corneal shape is not changing and the conditioning not worsening.
There are many steps one can do to ensure that the keratoconus stabilizes, the most successful one is crosslinking.
However, make sure that the diagnosis is accurate.
To read more on keratoconus please visit
Dr Shroff

Ophthalmology & Optometry

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Dr Anand Shroff, MD, FICS


I can answer any question on eye care, expertise in Laser eye surgery, LASIK, Epi LASIK, cataract, glaucoma, keratoconus- corneal collagen crosslinking.


OF LASIK, we are one of the first centres to use the wavefront guided LASIK or custom LASIK procedures. I train doctors worldwide for these wavefront procedures, our centre is the referral centre for our Wavelight Laser Technologies, Germany in India.

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