The multicenter Collaborative Longitudinal Evaluation of Keratoconus (CLEK) Study is a prospective, observational study of 1,209 keratoconus patients. We report on the factors associated with corneal scarring at baseline.
We defined corneal scarring as scars that had been detected both by the clinician examining the patient with the slit-lamp biomicroscope and by masked readers of corneal photographs at the CLEK Photography Reading Center. We investigated associations between corneal scarring and patient variables including gender, ethnicity, a family history of keratoconus, a history of ocular trauma, eye rubbing, contact lens wear, rigid contact lens fitting relationships, and corneal findings (such as curvature, Vogt's striae, Fleischer's ring, and central/apical staining). Multiple logistic regression analysis using generalized estimating equations to adjust for the correlation between eyes was used for analysis.
The following factors were found to increase the odds of corneal scarring at baseline in the CLEK Study: corneal staining (odds ratios (OR) = 3.40, 95% confidence interval 2.53–4.59), contact lens wear (OR = 3.51, 95% confidence interval 2.27–5.45), Fleischer's ring (OR = 1.63, 95% confidence interval 1.11–2.40), steeper first definite apical clearance lens base curve radius (per diopter, OR = 1.29, 95% confidence interval 1.25–1.33), and age (per decade, OR = 1.54, 95% confidence interval 1.35–1.75).
These baseline data suggest that corneal scarring in keratoconus is associated with corneal staining, contact lens wear, Fleischer's ring, a steeper cornea, and increasing age. The factors that imply added risk for corneal scarring that may be affected by practitioner intervention are staining of the cornea, contact lens wear, and the contact lens fitting relationship.