Original Research

Preliminary demographics for patients with keratoconus attending a university-based clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa

Elizabeth Chetty, Alan Rubin
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 78, No 1 | a472 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v78i1.472 | © 2019 Elizabeth Chetty, Alan Rubin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 August 2018 | Published: 19 August 2019

About the author(s)

Elizabeth Chetty, Department of Optometry, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa
Alan Rubin, Department of Optometry, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa

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Background: Keratoconus (KC) is a visually debilitating disease if left undiagnosed and untreated. Early intervention is necessary to ensure a good quality of life for those afflicted by the disease. Although much research has been done in other parts of the world, there is a paucity in the literature that describes the disease from a South African perspective.

Aim: The aim of this study was to provide the demographics of KC patients attending a university-based contact lens clinic between January 2007 and December 2017.

Setting: Patients diagnosed with KC (N = 206) at a university-based contact lens clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa, were included in this analysis.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of clinical records of 206 KC patients was conducted. Demographic data on race, gender, age and severity of disease were analysed and presented.

Results: The majority of patients with KC that attended the clinic were female (53%), of mainly African (74%) descent and in their second decade of life. The average age at first visit was 24.0 ± 8.53 and 22.9 ± 7.46 years for males and females, respectively. There was no significant difference in average age between male and female patients (p > 0.05). Patients in the first and second decade of life presented at first visit with a greater severity of disease when compared with those in the third decade or older.

Conclusion: There is a dire need for larger epidemiological studies to be conducted on South African patients with KC so that early intervention becomes possible. This would greatly influence the quality of life for these patients and positively impact the socio-economic status of the country.


South Africa; Keratoconus; demographics; Johannesburg; Oculus Pentacam; university-based clinic


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