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Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2008 Feb;225(2):131-7. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1027221.

[Biophysical principles of collagen cross-linking].

[Article in German]

Author information

Augenklinik, Universitätsklinikum Dresden, Dresden.



The reduced mechanical stability of the cornea in keratoconus or in keratectasia after Lasik may be increased by photooxidative cross-linking of corneal collagen. The biophysical principles are compiled for the safe and effective application of this new treatment method.


The setting of the therapy parameters should be elucidated from the absorption behaviour of the cornea. The safety of the method for the endothelium cells and the lens will be discussed. The induced cross-links are shown to be the result of changes in the physico-chemical properties of the cornea.


To reach a high absorption of the irradiation energy in the cornea, riboflavin of a concentration of 0.1% and UV light of a wavelength of 370 nm, corresponding to the relative maximum of absorption of riboflavin, were used. An irradiance of 3 mW/cm(2) and an irradiation time of 30 min lead to an increase of the mechanical stiffness. The endothelium cells will be protected due to the high absorption within the cornea, that means the damaging threshold of the endothelium cells will not be reached in a 400 microm thick stroma. As evidence for cross-links we can consider the increase of the biomechanical stiffness, the increased resistance against enzymatic degradation, a higher shrinkage temperature, a lower swelling rate and an increased diameter of collagen fibres.


The therapy parameters were tested experimentally and have been proven clinically in the corneal collagen cross-linking. These parameters should be respected to reach a safe cross-linking effect without damage of the adjacent tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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