Abstract: Purpose: To screen for keratoconus and potential associated risk factors in a tertiary student population sample.
Population and Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: 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.