Open Access Case report

A case of bilateral self-induced keratoconus in a patient with tourette syndrome associated with compulsive eye rubbing: case report

Artemios Kandarakis1, Michael Karampelas2*, Vasileios Soumplis1, Christos Panos1, Nikolaos Makris1, Stylianos Kandarakis3 and Dimitrios Karagiannis1

Author Affiliations

1 1st Ophthalmology Department, Ophthalmiatrion Eye Hospital of Athens, Sina 2, Athens, 106 72, Greece

2 Moorfields Eye Hospital, 162 City Road,London ,EC1V 2PD, UK

3 Ophthalmology Department, Weill Cornell Medical College, 1305 York Avenue at E. 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA

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BMC Ophthalmology 2011, 11:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-11-28

Published: 21 September 2011



Tourette syndrome is a neurologic disorder that is characterized by repetitive muscle contractions that produce stereotyped movements or sounds. Approximately 50% of individuals with TS also exhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors including eye rubbing. We report a case of bilateral self-induced keratoconus in a patient with TS, associated with compulsive eye rubbing.

Case presentation

A 35-year-old man was first seen in our clinic as an outpatient due to rapid deterioration of vision in his right eye associated with pain and tearing, over a period of one month. Slit lamp biomicroscopy of the right eye showed a central stromal scar due to corneal hydrops. Clinical examination and corneal topography of the left eye were normal. Six months later the patient developed corneal hydrops of his left eye. During the following examinations his vision continued to deteriorate in both eyes, while a central stromal scar was forming in his left cornea. Four years after the initial examination the patient's visual acuity was no light perception in the right eye and counting fingers at 33 cm in the left eye. His right eye was phthisic.


Our patient developed a rapidly progressing bilateral corneal ectasia and phthisis of his right eye during a time period of 4 years. This unusual pattern suggests that the patient's compulsive behavior compromised both of his corneas and led to bilateral keratoconus.