Little awareness about keratoconus, a cornea distorting eye illness

By Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter
Abu Dhabi: An eye condition known as keratoconus that distorts vision by changing the shape of the eyeball seems to be much more prevalent in youth in the Gulf, a top eye specialist said in the capital.
While this could be a result of a combination of factors, including genetic influences and the Gulf’s hot, dusty climate, there is still very little awareness of this ophthalmological illness that could even necessitate corrective surgery, Dr Robert Scott, from Dubai-based Moorfields Eye Hospital, said.
“In the rest of the world, keratoconus, which mainly affects young people below the age of 30 years, is seen in one in 2,000 patients. In the Gulf, this incidence is nearly double,” Dr Scott told Gulf News.
“Many patients however do not know that their condition can be treated, either with specialised contact lens or through a transplant of the cornea [transparent front layer of the eye],” he added.
Dr Scott said researchers at Moorfields are also currently looking at understanding the prevalence of keratoconus in the UAE and the Gulf.
He was speaking ahead of the launch this weekend of the Moorfields Eye Hospital Centre in Abu Dhabi. Officials said the centre had been planned as 20 per cent of the patients that visit the Moorfields facility in Dubai reside in Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi facility is being established collaboratively by the 200-year old ophthalmic facility in the United Kingdom, the Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Abu Dhabi-based health-care provider, United Eastern Medical Services. It is located in Marina Village and will be able to accommodate 120 patients daily, providing basic screenings as well as complex surgeries………
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Source: GulfNews