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F. Majo, F. Hafezi; Modified Corneal Collagen Crosslinking (CXL) Reduces Corneal Edema and Diurnal Visual Fluctuations in Fuchs’ Dystrophy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):4981.
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Crosslinking of corneal collagen with riboflavin and ultraviolet-A irradiation (CXL) induces crosslinks within and between collagen fibers. CXL increases corneal biomechanical and biochemical stability and is currently used clinically to treat keratectasia. CXL also significantly reduces the stromal swelling capacity. We investigated whether a modified CXL treatment protocol would be beneficial in early Fuchs’ dystrophy with various degrees of corneal edema and diurnal variations in visual acuity.
CXL was performed as published previously with the following modification: in cases where the stroma was thicker than 450 µm after abrasion and 30 minutes of instillation of isoosmolar riboflavin solution, glycerol 70% solution was applied every 5 seconds for two minutes, and central corneal thickness (CCT) was measured using ultrasound pachymetry. Glycerol 70% solution was administered repeatedly until the target corneal thickness of 370-430 µm was reached. During irradiation, CCT was monitored by ultrasound pachymetry every five minutes and glycerol 70% solution was applied, if necessary.
Three eyes in two patients were treated using the modified CXL protocol. Representative case: a 50-year-old woman with Fuchs’ dystrophy and a history of 3 years of diurnal visual fluctuations was referred to us in March 2008. Preoperative best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA) was 20/50. We performed modified CXL in the left eye. At one month after CXL, Scheimpflug analysis of CCT showed a reduction of more than 100 µm, and the Corneal Thickness Spatial Profile (CTSP) and Percentage of Increase in Thickness (PIT) showed a regularization of the "flattening" typical for Fuchs’ dystrophy. Accordingly, diurnal analysis of corneal thickness showed a distinct postoperative reduction in CCT at all time points measured. At one month after CXL, the patient reported a reduction of diurnal visual fluctuations and we measured an increase in BSCVA to 20/32. The patient showed stable topographical and visual acuity at the three months follow-up.
We saw a distinct reduction in CCT, an improvement of the corneal thickness spatial profile (CTSP) and an increase in BSCVA at one month after treatment, which remained stable at the three months follow-up. Patients with early Fuchs’ dystrophy and disturbing diurnal visual fluctuations represent a novel application for CXL. Although CXL may not prevent the outcome of the dystrophy, it may increase the patients’ visual comfort until keratoplasty becomes necessary.
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