PURPOSE: To assess the existing literature on the subject of keratoconus and personality and to propose a theory that might account for the perceived personality changes associated with this condition.
METHODS: A literature search was conducted in the PubMed database using the term "keratoconus" in combination with keywords such as personality, psychiatry, psychology, anxiety, depression, or psychosis. A total of 15 articles pertaining to personality and psychiatric disorders in keratoconus were retained and reviewed.
RESULTS: Although patients with keratoconus tend to score differently on personality scales compared with normal controls, the literature fails to substantiate the existence of a unique "keratoconic personality." Instead, patients with keratoconus prove to have more dysfunctional coping mechanisms that specifically alter their interaction with health care providers and may account for the persistent clinical impression of less respectful, conforming, and cooperative patients.
CONCLUSIONS: We hypothesize that the stage of life at which keratoconus commonly presents plays a crucial role in personality and coping mechanism development that significantly affects behavioral patterns and the relationship with caregivers.
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