To quantitate corneal haze and analyze the postoperative time course of corneal haze after transepithelial corneal collagen cross-linking (TECXL) in patients with keratoconus.
Patients underwent TECXL and were randomized into 2 groups. One group received intraoperative riboflavin 0.10% every minute, and the second group received riboflavin 0.10% every 2 minutes during ultraviolet exposure. Scheimpflug densitometry was measured preoperatively, and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months to assess the postoperative time course. Densitometry measurements were also correlated with visual acuity, pachymetry, and topography outcomes.
Fifty-nine eyes of 43 patients with keratoconus were analyzed. Preoperative mean corneal densitometry was 20.45 ± 2.79. Mean densitometry increased at 1 month (22.58 ± 3.79; P < 0.001), did not significantly change between 1 and 3 months (22.64 ± 3.83; P = 0.8), and significantly improved between 3 and 12 months postoperatively (mean6 21.59 ± 3.39; P = 0.002, mean12 20.80 ± 3.27; P = 0.002). There was no difference between preoperative and 1-year densitometry measurements (P = 0.21). There was no significant difference between the 1-minute and 2-minute subgroups. In addition, corneal densitometry at either 3 months or 1 year did not correlate with uncorrected distance visual acuity (P = 0.4), corrected distance visual acuity (P = 0.1), or maximum keratometry (P = 0.5), 1 year after corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL).
After TECXL, corneal haze increased slightly at 1 month, plateaued between 1 and 3 months, and returned to baseline between 3 and 12 months. In general, corneal haze in this study was substantially less than the haze previously reported for the standard cross-linking procedure. CXL-associated corneal haze did not correlate with the postoperative visual or topographic outcomes 1 year after CXL.