Objectives: To report on the differences of blinding corneal ectasias in Qatari vs. Levante Arab patient populations with two diagnostic set-ups. Methods: Group 1: Over 6 months, 6432 consecutive patients were assessed by PENTACAM HR PREMIUM, 65 index persons (IP) (128 eyes) followed for 1 year. Group 2: Over 15 months 3232 patients were assessed by NIDEK OPD ARK 10000, 35 IP (67 eyes) followed. Demographic, functional and morphological differences were assessed. Exclusion criteria were surgery, inflammation, trauma, birthplace in non-Arabic countries. Results: Group 1: Of 65 IP, 32 (20F,12M) had KC, and 33 (7F, 26M)PMD. Group 2:of 35 IP, 33 (22F, 11M)had KC, and 2(2F) had PMD. PMD: CKI was higher (p<0.01), ISV increased earlier (p<0.01). Demographics: Group 1: KC: Qatari 22, Levante Arabs 7, PMD: Qatari 6, Levante Arabs 27 Group 2: KC: Qatari 30, Levante Arabs 3, PMD: Qatari 0, Levante Arabs 2 Age of presentation: Group 1: PMD:KC 38:30 years, group 2: PMD:KC 33:29years (intergroup p<0.05). Conclusions: The incidence of corneal ectasia in Qatar is high (1-1.5%). Levante Arabs feature distinct differences regarding the morphology of corneal ectasia (pellucid marginal corneal degeneration) compared to Qatari Arabs (classical inferior or central keratoconus). Findings warrant an identification of candidate genes for these blinding conditions.


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