Dont let your kids rub their eyes. See here why?

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Keratoconus diagram showing the thinning of cornea Have you ever heard of Keratoconus?  In short it is a disease of the front part of the eye- Cornea. The shape of the cornea changes from a regular spherical shape to an irregular conical shape. This causes visual disturbance and distortion. Though a genetic component has been established but equally important had been rubbing of the eyes. The constant mechanical pressure leads to shape change of the cornea. Hence make sure your kid does not rub his or her eyes frequently.

Optometrist, asian girl rubbing her eyes in Redondo Beach, CAImage Source: Internet

Why is the kid rubbing his/her eyes?

There can be different reasons for rubbing but usually the rubbing at the time the kid is sleepy or just woke up is considered normal. Vigorous rubbing or the urge to scratch the eyes is an indicator for eye allergy and a consult with an eye specialist is mandatory. A refractive error also compels the kid to rub his eyes which is easily corrected by a pair of glasses. Sometimes it is seen that kids rub their eyes as a part of habit watching someone else. In all cases it is important as a parent to discourage the act of rubbing one’s eyes for safety of their eyes.

 Is Keratoconus treatable?

Earlier we had only one option and that was Corneal Transplant to stop the thinning cornea in keratoconus but now with the advancement in the technology we are offering Collagen Cross Linking (C3R) to halt the progression of the disease at an early stage. Sometimes a regular follow up is all what is required as not all cases progress to end stage and the disease is usually considered to slow down after 35 years of age.

What is new in Corneal transplant in Keratoconus?

The whole cornea is not replaced in a corneal transplant for keratoconus and only the front part which is affected in keratoconus is replaced. This technique is known as DALK ( Deep anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty). This has a success rate of more than 95% cases at our centre. Keratoconus is considered a disease with highest success rate of Corneal Transplant.

What Should we do to make Kid avoid rubbing?

The best way is to give cold compress as cold snubs the urge to rub. A gentle tap with wet cloth equally works well. Seek a eye consult if rubbing is excessive and if your kid has associated body allergies or asthma. Kids with Downs Syndrome are very much prone to keratoconus and eye rubbing so a regular eye checkup is mandatory.


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