Keratoconus has been shown to have associations with hereditary predispositions. It is also associated with atopic disease, certain systemic disorders, and rigid contact lens wear. Corneal tissue changes in the stroma or the epithelium and its basement membrane have been proposed as possible causes of keratoconus.
Hereditary factors do seem to play an important although not well understood role in the development of keratoconus. Some studies indicate that keratoconus may be inherited as either a dominant or recessive trait. It has been reported that in families where one member has, the incidence of keratoconus in the other family members is higher than in a normal population. These studies indicate a high prevalence of keratoconus and corneal topographic abnormalities in family members of keratoconus patients.
Other genetic conditions also have strong links to keratoconus, showing that hereditary factors certainly influence the onset of keratoconus. Systemic conditions linked to keratoconus include Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Rieger’s syndrome anomaly, Crouzon’s syndrome, and Marfan syndrome.
While no single gene has been found to be the cause of keratoconus, there is certainly a link between keratoconus and hereditary. Patients suspected of keratoconus are advised to provide a good family history of eye problems as well as systemic disorders. This can help the practitioner in diagnosing the problems and can even lead to better treatment and observation of the condition.