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J Refract Surg. 2009 Sep;25(9):S803-6. doi: 10.3928/1081597X-20090813-08. Epub 2009 Sep 11.

Riboflavin-UVA treatment in the management of edema and nonhealing ulcers of the cornea.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.



Riboflavin-ultraviolet A (UVA) treatment induces cross-linking and stiffens the corneal stroma. A parallel reduction in stromal swelling and increased resistance to microbial and enzymatic degradation has been suggested. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of riboflavin-UVA treatment in the management of corneal disorders, in particular edema due to endothelial decompensation and non-healing ulcers.


Two clinical series are reported, 11 eyes with endothelial decompensation and 14 eyes with non-healing ulcers. Treatment comprised a) abrasion of epithelium (if present), b) instillation of 0.1% riboflavin in saline, and c) irradiation at 365 nm UVA light over approximately 30 minutes (3 mW/cm(2)). Four eyes in the first group were treated twice. Postoperatively, all eyes were followed for at least 3 months.


Reduction in corneal thickness was observed in 10 of 11 eyes with stromal edema and the majority also experienced improvement in vision. The effect occurred over weeks and lasted for months. Fourteen patients with non-healing ulceration were similarly treated; 6 healed, 8 showed no clear effect.


In addition to the stiffening of keratoconic and ectatic cornea, riboflavin-UVA treatment is effective in reducing corneal edema and has the potential to heal corneal ulcers.

Copyright 2009, SLACK Incorporated.

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