To investigate whether the introduction of corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) influences the frequency of keratoplasties in patients with keratoconus.
Data were obtained from a cohort of patients from our corneal transplant registry. Two different periods were compared, 2005 to 2006 (period 1) and 2013 to 2014 (period 2). Patients during period 1 had surgery before the introduction of CXL treatment, and patients in period 2 had surgery after this treatment was well established in our department. Age and gender were registered, and the Amsler–Krumeich classification system was applied to grade the degree of keratoconus.
The total number of keratoplasties performed during period 1 was 137, and keratoconus was the cause of surgery in 55 eyes (55 patients). The corresponding numbers in period 2 were 231 and 26 eyes (26 patients), respectively. The difference in the number of keratoplasties for keratoconus in both periods was statistically significant (P = 0.003). There were no significant differences in the distributions of age and gender between both periods. In period 1, 63.6% of the eyes were graded as stage 4 in the Amsler–Krumeich classification, compared with 96.2% in period 2 (P = 0.001).
The frequency of keratoplasty for keratoconus has been more than halved in our department over the last decade. There is reason to believe that this reduction is for a great part caused by the introduction of CXL treatment.