Clinicians should be careful to examine patients with keratoconus for eyelid conditions such as blepharitis, new data suggests, as signs and symptoms of this condition occur more frequently in patients with keratoconus than healthy patients.

Researchers evaluated 50 patients with keratoconus for signs and symptoms of the condition and compared results with 72 healthy controls. Additionally, all participants completed the Ocular Surface Disease Index questionnaire and a separate questionnaire about blepharitis symptoms, signs and risk factors.

Results showed a much higher rate of blepharitis in keratoconus patients than in healthy patients: 24% vs. 2.8% of participants. Beyond that, a higher percentage of keratoconus patients also claimed they were rubbing their eyes more than once a day and experiencing red and tired eyes.

While these results demonstrate that “the signs and symptoms of blepharitis are more prevalent among keratoconus participants than in those without,” the study authors believe future studies should take a deeper dive into “the role of blepharitis-related inflammatory mediators and eye rubbing in the pathogenesis and progression of keratoconus.”

Mostovoy D, Vinker S, Mimouni M, et al. The association of keratoconus with blepharitis. Clin Exp Optom. 2018;101(3):339-44.