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Ophthalmic Res. 2009;41(2):114-7. doi: 10.1159/000187630. Epub 2008 Dec 20.

Potential use of riboflavin/UVA cross-linking in bullous keratopathy.

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Eye Laser Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany.



Collagen cross-linking of the cornea has been shown by us to have an antiedematous effect in the cornea. The aim of the present study was to examine if this effect can be used for the treatment of bullous keratopathy.


This clinical interventional case series included 3 patients (3 eyes) with bullous keratopathy due to pseudophakia, corneal transplant rejection, and Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy. After dehydration for 1 day using 40% glucose, the central 8 mm of the cornea were abraded and cross-linked with the photosensitizer riboflavin and UVA (370 nm, 3 mW/cm(2)) for 30 min. Optical coherence tomography pachymetry measurements of the central cornea were performed at various time intervals.


Corneal thickness was reduced by 90.33 +/- 17.04 microm on average 3 days after cross-linking and by 93.67 +/- 14.22 microm after 8 months. The bullous changes of the epithelium were markedly improved, resulting in loss of pain and discomfort. Visual acuity was significantly improved in the case without prior stromal scarring.


Cross-linking might become another useful tool in the treatment of bullous keratopathy. It is primarily suited for patients with pain symptoms, restricted visual prognosis or to extend the time interval for an upcoming corneal transplantation.

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