The short answer is yes
Why do some people get keratoconus? A lot of people think that allergies are the cause, but when statistics are done this condition is not significantly associated with keratoconus.
However, eye rubbing has been found to be associated with keratoconus. A number of years ago I co authored a paper with Charles McMonnies. We found evidence to further prove that eye rubbing can cause keratoconus. Basically, the eye that had the worst keratoconus was on the same side as the strongest hand. The strongest hand rubs the eye harder and changes the eye shape more.
There has been many studies showing that eye rubbing is significantly associated with keratoconus. In our clinical practice we strongly advise no eye rubbing, especially for people with signs of keratoconus.
The problem is that the urge to rub the eyes is fairly strong especially in patients who are wearing hard lenses. Patients report that on removing the lenses that they have a strong urge to rub the eyes. There are some tactics that you can use to reduce the itching urge. A simple way is to place a cold face washer on the eyes after lens removal, This soothes the eyes and reduces the urge to rub the eyes.
The take home message from this blog is that if you have the diagnosis of keratoconus you should not rub your eyes. Make an appointment if you would like to discuss this further with us.