You are not to blame…

YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME

WHY THIS PAGE

We created The Keratconus Diary as a source of comfort and support to patients with keratoconus. It begins as a journey of discovery, by highlighting the important role of eye rubbing in the onset and progression of the disease.

Before we begin this journey with you, there are several important points that we would like to address.

YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME

You have been suffering from keratoconus for a long time. You struggle every day with your vision, you find yourself handicapped in your daily life, with a legitimate feeling of injustice. The assertion that keratoconus could have been self-inflicted by eye rubbing may be provocative and shocking to you.

It is natural to greet this revelation with anger, hurt, disappointment or even disbelief.

It is important for you to understand and accept that you are not to blame for your condition. Do not see this as a shift in the responsibility of keratoconus causation into your hands. On the contrary, as part of the Medical and Eye Care community, we as Ophthalmologists feel responsible for not highlighting the negative effects of eye rubbing sufficiently in the past by making the necessary information freely available to the public.

We believe that without specific and salient information about the dangers of eye rubbing, no patient should be blamed for having rubbed his or her eyes. This natural habit can provide relief and a sense of well-being which even doctors and some of the authors of this website have enjoyed.

If you have keratoconus and have been rubbing your eyes, do not despair. It is never too late to stop. 

EYE RUBBING: THE EVIDENCE

The assertion that eye rubbing is the root cause of keratoconus has only been recently alluded to. It is not based on any preconceived idea or a deliberate intention to over simplify matters, but is fueled by sound scientific and medical elements, many of which are explained in the related pages here.

Fortunately not all patients who rub their eyes develop keratoconus. Beyond the increased susceptibility to atopy and ocular irritation (which incite rubbing), inherited factors such as a lower native corneal resistance may explain why some eye rubbing patients develop keratoconus, while others do not.

Eye rubbing preceded the advent of the typical corneal deformation seen in keratoconus in all the cases described in this website. We documented each case in detail, and are continually monitoring their progress. So far, all our patients have enjoyed stabilization of their disease following a definitive cessation of eye rubbing, and we are sharing their stories with you.

Inspired by the therapeutic success of these patients, we wish to disseminate the information to the largest possible audience, so as to limit the potential damage eye rubbing can cause to other patients and their corneas. That would be our primary goal.

EYE RUBBING & YOU

We rub our eyes for various reasons. We rub especially if we are tired, or when our eyes feel strained and irritated. Some people have unhealthy sleeping positions resulting in compression of the eye, which in turn causes more irritation and incites more rubbing. An increase in allergies, pollution, and extended work hours in front of the computer in the last decades are likely causes of an increase in the incidence of keratoconus in our community.

While some patients with keratoconus deny eye rubbing during their first consultation at our clinic, we were able to provide them in many instances specific information which made them realize subsequently, often with genuine surprise, that they were indeed rubbing their eyes chronically for a long period of time before the advent of the first signs of the disease. This may in fact apply to you….

It is important for us to identify patients with unconscious eye rubbing habits and unfavourable sleeping positions. If we had inadvertently missed these, the patients would have carried on with their habits, and their keratoconus would have continued to progress. Many of our patients shared that they had never been questioned thoroughly on their lifestyle and habits by their eye care providers. Unfortunately, some who had come to us for a second opinion, had been seen by other practitioners who overlooked or ignored the possibility of eye rubbing, but instead suggested some surgical procedure immediately at the first consultation. The reality was that none of these patients required surgical intervention. The simple act of cessation of eye rubbing arrested the progression of keratoconus.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A CRUSADE AGAINST EYE RUBBING

We are not dogmatic, and as scientists, doubt is inherent in our intellectual approaches. Hence, there is still a possibility that some cases of keratoconus are not directly linked to eye rubbing. Even if this were true, there is enough compelling evidence to suggest that a vast majority of patients are afflicted with keratoconus because other pathogenic stimuli have led them to rub their eyes. It is therefore important for the “at risk” population (atopic children and teenagers, dry eye patients after LASIK surgery) to be alerted to the dangers of eye rubbing. If one refuses to acknowledge the hypothesis that eye rubbing is the root cause of keratoconus, it should at least be recognized as the major risk factor for keratoconus progression. Although this has been embraced by the ophthalmic community in general, it has not been accorded sufficient prominence. We feel the need to spread the word to a larger, more diverse community.

Based on this hypothesis, there is a real chance that keratoconus could, at least theoretically, be eradicated, if every patient could stop rubbing their eyes after receiving proper information on its deleterious effects. That would be our ultimate goal.

HOW ALL THIS AFFECTS YOU

If you are able to strike a chord with the information and case examples provided in this website, and correlate your eye rubbing habits to keratoconus, you should not feel guilty. Rubbing is a natural reflex to ocular irritation, and like many others, you were not aware of its deleterious effects.

Our goal is to share this information with you, and to provide comfort and support by increasing your awareness and understanding of keratoconus. We hope that with this knowledge, you can help others too by spreading the word…

If by any chance you are still skeptical about this theory, because in your best efforts you cannot recall or relate in your case to any eye rubbing present or past, we accept that you disagree with us. However, we believe that it is in the best interests of the community that you do not dismiss the causative role of eye rubbing in keratoconus genesis entirely, as it may be counter-productive, especially in the control of progression of the established  cases.


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