Dry Eye Can Cause Progression of Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that causes the cornea to thin and bulge outward, leading to visual impairment and reduced visual acuity. Although the exact cause of keratoconus is not fully understood, studies have shown that dry eye syndrome may be a contributing factor in the development and progression of this condition.

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or tears evaporate too quickly. This can result in discomfort, burning, itching and even blurred vision. Dry eye can also cause a range of other symptoms such as redness, light sensitivity and a feeling of sand in the eyes.

Dry eye is particularly important in keratoconus patients because it can lead to increased rubbing of the eyes. This friction can further thin the cornea and cause keratoconus to progress faster. Furthermore, dry eye can make keratoconus patients more prone to infections and other complications, as the lack of tears can make it easier for bacteria and other irritants to enter the eye.

Furthermore, dry eye is often associated with allergies, which can worsen the symptoms of both dry eye and keratoconus. Allergic reactions can cause increased tearing, which may initially seem like a good thing for dry eye sufferers. However, the tears produced during an allergic reaction are often of poor quality and do not provide enough lubrication for the eyes. This can worsen dry eye symptoms and contribute to the progression of keratoconus.

As a result, dry eye is a very important factor to consider when managing keratoconus patients. Adequate treatment of dry eye can help reduce the risk of disease progression and improve overall visual health. Dry eye patients should work closely with their ophthalmologist or optometrist to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses both dry eye and keratoconus. With proper management, patients with keratoconus and dry eye can achieve better visual outcomes and improved quality of life.

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Assoc. Prof. Aylin Kılıç

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