This study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors for keratoconus worldwide.
In this meta-analysis, using a structured search strategy from 2 sources, 4 electronic databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and Scopus) and the reference lists of the selected articles were searched from inception to June 2018 with no restrictions and filters. The outcome of the study was the prevalence of keratoconus and its risk factors, including eye rubbing, family history of keratoconus, atopy, allergy, asthma, eczema, diabetes type I and type II, and sex.
In this study, 3996 articles were retrieved, of which 29 were analyzed. These 29 articles included 7,158,241 participants from 15 countries. The prevalence of keratoconus in the whole population was 1.38 per 1000 population [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14–1.62 per 1000]. The prevalence of keratoconus was 20.6 per 1000 (95% CI: 11.68–28.44 per 1000) in men and 18.33 per 1000 (95% CI: 8.66–28.00 per 1000) in women in studies reporting sex. The odds ratio of eye rubbing, family history of keratoconus, allergy, asthma, and eczema was 3.09 (95% CI: 2.17–4.00), 6.42 (95% CI: 2.59–10.24), 1.42 (95% CI: 1.06–1.79), 1.94 (95% CI: 1.30–2.58), and 2.95 (95% CI: 1.30–4.59), respectively.
The results of this study, as the most comprehensive meta-analysis of keratoconus prevalence and risk factors, showed that keratoconus had a low prevalence in the world and eye rubbing, family history of keratoconus, allergy, asthma, and eczema were the most important risk factors for keratoconus according to the available evidence.