Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a Mubadala Health partner, is driving awareness around keratoconus, a progressive and degenerative corneal eye disease that, if left untreated, can result in blindness. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Eye Institute and Research Department will be conducting a research study to measure the prevalence of keratoconus in the local population to help understand and treat the disease more effectively.
Keratoconus is usually detected in the teenage years or 20s but can also start in childhood. However, the exact cause of keratoconus is unknown, and there are no eye diseases or injuries that explain why the cornea’s structure weakens and changes shape. This makes the role of preventative screening and timely detection even more critical, so accurate treatment is provided to manage the extent of distortion.
Dr. David Gritz, Staff Physician, Cornea & Refractive Disorders, Eye Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi says, “Promoting advanced research to address complex medical needs of the community is a key objective of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Our aim is to study the prevalence and incidence of the disease in the local population, which will enable us in our efforts with the governing authorities to develop a comprehensive national screening program, and further serve our community.”
Dr. Gritz added, “Permanent vision loss from keratoconus is preventable through early detection and treatment, as we have innovative cutting-edge technologies available today. Therefore, we encourage people to take the preventive route and opt for screening tests.”
Keratoconus occurs when the cornea, the transparent outer lens of the eye, which normally has a dome shape with a ball-like appearance, is unable to maintain its round shape and extends outward in the form of a cone. While the exact cause is largely unknown, some research studies suggest that keratoconus runs in families and occurs more often in people with specific medical conditions.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s multidisciplinary, patient-first approach to complex care is key in the management of life-altering medical conditions such as keratoconus. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s focus on research and clinical studies further drives its vision to establish Abu Dhabi as a center for the life sciences industry and make world-class healthcare accessible to the UAE and wider region.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi encourages individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 years to undergo examination and consider participation in the research study