A new Israeli-based cross-sectional study has revealed a link between males with keratoconus and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
As eye-rubbing has been shown to trigger onset and progression of keratoconus, the researchers sought to identify a potential link between various psychiatric disorders associated with heightened sensitivity and the disease.
Published in JAMA Ophthalmology, the study included 940,763 adolescents and adults who underwent systematic medical and ophthalmologic evaluation. The researchers examined the prevalence of keratoconus among patients with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), autism and ADHD.
A total of 1,533 participants were diagnosed with keratoconus, equivalent to a 0.16% prevalence.
Patients with keratoconus were found to be 1.58 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the general population.
Furthermore, when stratified by age, men were shown to be more likely to have an association between the two, with an odds ratio of 1.62 compared to 1.29 for women.
The researchers concluded that ADHD was associated with a diagnosis of keratoconus in male patients, even after adjusting for possible confounders. Although a causative effect could not be ascribed, they suggest further investigation into the potential value of education regarding eye rubbing in this population.