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Does Corneal Collagen Cross-linking Reduce the Need for Keratoplasties in Patients With Keratoconus?

Sandvik, Gunhild Falleth MPhil; Thorsrud, Andreas MD; Råen, Marianne MPhil; Østern, Atle E. MD, PhD; Sæthre, Marit MD, PhD; Drolsum, Liv MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000000460
Clinical Science

Purpose: To investigate whether the introduction of corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) influences the frequency of keratoplasties in patients with keratoconus.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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).

Conclusions: 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.

*Department of Ophthalmology, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevaal, Oslo, Norway; and

Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Reprints: Gunhild Falleth Sandvik, MPhil, Eye Department, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevaal, Postbox 4950 Nydalen, 0424 Oslo, Norway (e-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received February 17, 2015

Received in revised form March 09, 2015

Accepted March 13, 2015

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