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Abstract :

To screen for keratoconus and potential associated risk factors in a tertiary student population sample. This cross sectional study included 1234 students attending An-Najah National University (Nablus, West Bank, Palestine), that were randomly selected from a total of 20,000 university students. 634 (51.3%) student participants responded by completing a self-administered questionnaire and were assessed by means of corneal topography. Following initial evaluation, participants were referred for Pentacam evaluation if they demonstrated either a mean keratometry of more than 45 diopters, corneal astigmatism of more than 2 diopters and/or if asymmetric topographic patterns were present. Pentacam images were analyzed by an experienced ophthalmologist based on a number of indices and the participants were classified as normal, keratoconus suspects, and keratoconus patients. A total of 620 participants (mean age, 20.1±1.6 years) were included in this study, 379 (61.1%) were females and 241 (38.9%) were males. Nine subjects were diagnosed with keratoconus, demonstrating a prevalence of 1.5%. 52 (8.4%) participants showed at least one abnormal pentacam index, and were considered as KC suspects. Keratoconus is a prevalent disease among the tertiary Palestinian student population. This may be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The results of this study signal the need for public health outreach and intervention for keratoconus.