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Keratoconus in Children

Disease onset

Keratoconus is a disease of young people and most common and most aggressive in children (8 to 15 years) and adolescents (10 to 19 years). It is therefore very important to carry out regular follow-up checks here.

Our group has one of the longest international experiences in the treatment of keratoconus in children and adolescents. This particular age group requires special care and attention because the risk of postoperative complications such as infection can be greatly increased.

Keratoconus very often begins with the hormonal changes in puberty. However, it is also quite possible that the disease is already evident in a 9-year-old child. In 2012, the ELZA member Prof. Farhad Hafezi showed in a scientific study as an ester that keratoconus progresses in children and adolescents with a frequency of almost 90% and worsens vision.

A 15-year-old boy with a decrease in visual acuity in his right eye who started 3 months earlier. The left picture shows the cornea during the first visit. The patient and his parents were asked to follow up after 4 weeks. Unfortunately, they did not reappear until after 3 months. The right picture shows the massive deterioration after 3 months.

Importance of early detection

Unfortunately, 20 years ago we had to tell a person affected that there is no way to stop the disease. Today, with the Cross-Linking (CXL) we have developed, we have the ability to stop the disease early enough to maintain vision. All the more important now is the early detection.

Since keratoconus is a familial disorder, it is important to examine the children of adult keratoconus patients early. We always find very early Keratokoni and can then treat them early and targeted.

Keratoconus in children: interviews with Prof. Hafezi

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