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Youth, Vision Decline Boost Penetrating Keratoplasty Risk

About 12 percent of subjects with keratoconus ended up having the procedure during the eight-year follow-up

THURSDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Younger age, deteriorating vision, contact lens discomfort and other factors increase the chances that keratoconus patients will undergo penetrating keratoplasty, researchers report in the December issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Mae Gordon, Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues studied eight-year data on 1,065 patients enrolled in the Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus (CLEK) Study.

The researchers found that 12 percent of patients completing the study underwent penetrating keratoplasty. Youth, higher keratometric values, worsening vision and other factors increased chances of patients undergoing the procedure.

"The CLEK Study confirmed previous reports of the increased likelihood of penetrating keratoplasty associated with corneal scarring, steeper keratometry values, poorer visual acuity and poorer contact lens comfort," the authors write. "The CLEK Study is among the first to report an increased risk of penetrating keratoplasty associated with younger age, worse vision-related quality of life and flatter contact lens fits."

In an editorial, Mark Mannis, M.D., of the University of California-Davis, notes that the study adds "data-based indicators that will help us in counseling our newly diagnosed patients with keratoconus."

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