As keratoconus has been largely neglected, most children are not diagnosed early enough to receive treatment to prevent the disease progressing. The result is that patients first present themselves to the clinic/hospital when the condition is far advanced and the treatment options for few and very expensive.
In South Africa and most developing countries the incidence of keratoconus is increasing but there is no empirical data available. For governments to include this condition in their Eye Health Plans, we need to provide data on the prevalence of keratoconus, risks for the disease and other relevant information to inform policies and clinical guidelines.
This Epidemiology of Keratoconus (Epi-K) Study is the first large multi-national study that will be conducted in developing countries where children will be screened for keratoconus, risk and clinical profiles determined and strategies developed to help prevent the unnecessary vision impairment and blindness caused by this disease.