Purpose: To compare geometrical shape factors of keratoconus corneas after cross-linking (CXL) by means of Scheimpflug imaging with those of untreated fellow eyes.
Setting: Institut für Refraktive und Ophthalmo-Chirurgie, Zürich, Switzerland.
Methods: Scheimpflug imaging of the anterior segments was performed with the Pentacam (Oculus, Wetzlar, Germany) in 21 patients with progressive keratectasia before and after CXL. Only 1 eye per patient was treated with corneal cross-linking using the riboflavin/UV-A approach, the fellow eye serving as control. The following corneal parameters and their postoperative evolution during 1 year after treatment have been evaluated: minimal curvature radius and its location, thickness at the thinnest point, location of the thinnest point, anterior and posterior elevation, conoid asphericity constants of the anterior and posterior surface, and 7 keratoconus indices. Statistical comparison was performed by means of the Wilcoxon test.
Results: None of the treated eyes showed topographic progression in contrast to the untreated group where 8 eyes experienced significant progression. Minimal curvature radius increased significantly after 1 year compared with preoperative (6.14-6.21 mm), whereas in the untreated fellow eye, it significantly decreased (6.94-6.86 mm). Minimal corneal thickness was significantly reduced after treatment (P < 0.002 at 12 months). The cornea showed an evolution toward a more regular shape as indicated by a significant reduction in 4 of 7 keratoconus indices. No complications of CXL occurred in this small study group.
Conclusions: After cross-linking, the corneal shape undergoes a process of regularization. This process is active during the first year after treatment and may continue. Longer follow-up is warranted to estimate the full amount of regression of the keratectasia after CXL.