British Journal of Ophthalmology
2021 March

Predictors of progression in untreated keratoconus: a Save Sight Keratoconus Registry study

Alex Ferdi, Vuong Nguyen, Himal Kandel, Jeremy C K Tan, Francisco Arnalich-Montiel, Marco Abbondanza, Stephanie Watson


Aims: We set out to identify risk factors for progression in untreated keratoconus patients from 34 centres across Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Italy.

Methods: Patients were divided into ‘progressors’ and ‘stable’ patients for each clinical parameter: visual acuity (VA), steepest keratometry (maximum keratometry (Max-K)) and thinnest corneal thickness (TCT). Primary outcomes were the proportion of eyes with sustained progression in VA, Max-K or TCT within 3 years. Secondary outcomes included predictors of progression.

Results: There were 3994 untreated eyes from 2283 patients. The proportion of eyes with VA, Max-K and TCT progression at 1 year were 3.2%, 6.6% and 3.1% respectively. Factors associated with VA loss were higher baseline VA (HR 1.15 per logMAR line increase in VA; p<0.001) and steeper baseline Max-K (HR 1.07 per 1D increase; p<0.001). Younger baseline age was associated with Max-K steepening (HR 0.96 per year older; p=0.001). Thicker baseline TCT, steeper baseline Max-K and younger baseline age were associated with TCT thinning: (HR 1.08 per 10 ┬Ám increase in TCT; p<0.001), (HR 1.03 per 1D increase; p=0.02) and (HR 0.98 per year younger; p=0.01), respectively. Conclusions: Steeper Max-K and younger age were the most clinically useful baseline predictors of progression as they were associated with worsening of two clinical parameters. Every 1D steeper Max-K was associated with a 7% and 3% greater risk of worsening VA and thinning TCT, respectively. Each 1 year younger was associated with a 4% and 2% greater risk of steepening Max-K and thinning TCT, respectively.