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Theo G. Seiler, Isaak Fischinger, Tim Senfft, Gerald Schmidinger, Theo Seiler; Intrastromal Application of Riboflavin for Corneal Crosslinking. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(7):4261-4265. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.14-14021.
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To experimentally evaluate the efficacy of corneal crosslinking (CXL) by injecting the photomediator riboflavin into the corneal stroma via intrastromal channels.
Five groups of pig corneas, nine each, were compared regarding stress–strain relationship and UV-absorption. Group 1 had intrastromal channels floated with riboflavin 0.5%-solution followed by UVA-irradiation (3 mW/cm2 for 30 minutes); group 2 was handled like group 1, but were irradiated with 9 mW/cm2 for 10 minutes; group 3 was treated according to the Dresden protocol (epi-off, 9 mW/cm2 for 10 minutes); group 4 had the identical channel system, no riboflavin but identical irradiation; group 5 with native corneas served as a control group. The intrastromal channels were created with a femtosecond laser. The stress–strain relations were measured in corneal strips using a uniaxial material tester at strains up to 12%. The UV-transmission of the corneas was measured in groups 1, 3, and 5.
The stress needed for a 10% strain was significantly increased by 82% in the corneas treated with the Dresden protocol compared with native cornea (P = 0.0005). With intrastromal application of riboflavin the significant increase was 87% (P = 0.0005) in group 1 and 64% (P = 0.007) in group 2. The channel formation alone did not alter biomechanics (P = 0.923). The corneal UVA-transmission was 2.4% after intrastromal riboflavin application, 8.9% after the treatment according to the Dresden protocol, and 57.9% in native corneas.
The experiments demonstrate the intrastromal application of riboflavin by means of intrastromal channels a feasible “epi-on” approach for CXL. More experimental data are needed before clinical testing.
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