Personality in keratoconus in a sample of patients derived from the internet

Kerry K. Giedd, Mark J Mannis, G. Lynn Mitchell, Karla Zadnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: Keratoconus is a corneal disease that manifests itself in young adulthood and decreases vision. Anecdotally, keratoconus patients are commonly described as having unusual personality characteristics; however, previous researchers have not been able to define a unique keratoconus personality profile. We sought to better define the personality of patients with keratoconus. Methods: The Millon Behavioral Health Inventory (MBHI) is a psychological instrument designed for use with physically ill patients to assess factors relevant to their medical care. The MBHI may aid in the evaluation of keratoconus patients and provide information relevant to the doctor-patient relationship. Patients with keratoconus were recruited through the World Wide Web. Surveys were conducted by mail, with all responses returned anonymously. One hundred fifty-three keratoconus patients were compared with the MBHI age-matched norms, generated from medical and nonmedical samples of adults. Subgroups of keratoconus patients were compared based on their self-reported rating of the daily burden of keratoconus. Results: Keratoconus patients scored significantly lower (χ2, P < 0.05) compared with the normative population on the respectful coping style scale, and their scores were not significantly associated with a history of penetrating keratoplasty or their rating of the effect of keratoconus on their lives. This suggests that keratoconus patients are less respectful of practitioners, uncooperative, and noncompliant with treatment plans. Practitioners may look unfavorably on patients who exhibit these characteristics. This would also explain why the clinical perception of keratoconus patients persists, but other personality inventories have not defined a distinct keratoconus profile. Conclusions: These data from the MBHI, showing that keratoconus patients score lower on the respectful coping style scale, may explain eye care practitioners' perceptions about these patients' personality characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-307
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Internet sampling
  • Keratoconus
  • Keratoconus-link
  • Millon Behavioral Health Inventory
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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