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J Cataract Refract Surg. 2009 Aug;35(8):1358-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2009.03.035.

Complication and failure rates after corneal crosslinking.

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From Institut für Refraktive und Ophthalmo-Chirurgie, Zürich, Switzerland.



To evaluate the complication rate of corneal crosslinking (CXL) for primary keratectasia and to develop recommendations for avoiding complications.


Institut für Refraktive und Ophthalmo-Chirurgie, Zurich, Switzerland.


In a prospective study, eyes with verified progressive keratectasia had standard CXL. Preoperative and 6- and 12-month postoperative examinations included corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA), slitlamp evaluation, applanation tonometry, and Scheimpflug imaging (Pentacam). Statistical analysis included analysis of variance and the Mann-Whitney U test to detect risk factors for complications.


The study evaluated 117 eyes of 99 patients; approximately 90% completed the 12-month follow-up. The complication rate (percentage of eyes losing 2 or more Snellen lines) was 2.9% (95% confidence interval, 0.6%-8.5%). The failure rate of CXL (percentage of eyes with continued progression) was 7.6%. Age older than 35 years and a preoperative CDVA better than 20/25 were identified as significant risk factors for complications. A high preoperative maximum keratometry (K) reading was a significant risk factor for failure. Sterile infiltrates were seen in 7.6% of eyes and central stromal scars, in 2.8%.


Results indicate that changing the inclusion criteria may significantly reduce the complications and failures of CXL. A preoperative maximum K reading less than 58.00 diopters may reduce the failure rate to less than 3%, and restricting patient age to younger than 35 years may reduce the complication rate to 1%.

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