To report the clinical characteristics and outcomes of pediatric patients with keratoconus (KCN) who underwent corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) under general anesthesia for developmental delay or inability to cooperate with topical anesthesia.
In this retrospective case series, we reviewed the medical charts of pediatric patients with KCN who had CXL under general anesthesia from January 2018 to April 2019. Baseline disease characteristics of patients with and without developmental delay were compared using the Pearson χ2 test and the t test. Main outcomes were anesthesia or surgical complications and postoperative best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), keratometry (K) values, and caregiver report of eye-rubbing behavior.
Fourteen eyes of 9 patients were reviewed. All were habitual eye rubbers at baseline. Six (66.7%) were developmentally delayed. Compared with patients without developmental delay, developmentally delayed patients were diagnosed and treated at older ages (16.0 vs. 13.9 years), experienced longer delays from diagnosis to surgery (20.7 vs. 8.8 weeks), and had lower BCVA (20/70 vs. 20/40), higher steep K values (54.0 vs. 50.9), and a higher incidence of corneal scarring (75.0% vs. 33.3%) and monocular vision loss (50.0% vs. 0.0%) at baseline, although these differences were not statistically significant. No anesthesia or surgical complications occurred. BCVA and K values were stable at postoperative month 6, with no clinically or statistically significant change observed for either measure. Eight patients decreased or stopped eye rubbing.
We demonstrate the efficacy and safety of CXL under general anesthesia in halting the progression of KCN for pediatric patients with developmental delay or an inability to cooperate with the procedure until topical anesthesia.