Eye (London, England)
2023 June

Comparison of standard versus accelerated corneal collagen cross-linking for keratoconus: 5-year outcomes from the Save Sight Keratoconus Registry 

Himal Kandel, Marco Abbondanza, Aanchal Gupta, Richard Mills, Adam S Watson, Constantinos Petsoglou, Yves Kerdraon, Stephanie L Watson


Objective: To compare long-term effectiveness of Standard (UV intensity: 3 mW/cm2, duration: 30 min) vs Accelerated (UV intensity: 9 mW/cm2, duration: 10 min) corneal cross-linking (CXL) for stabilising keratoconus.

Methods: Data for this observational study were captured through a web-based registry system from the routine clinical practice (15 sites across Australia, New Zealand and Italy). The outcomes were compared using mixed-effects regression models. A total of 100 eyes (75 patients) who had standard CXL and 76 eyes (66 patients) who had accelerated CXL, with a follow-up visit at five-year post-CXL were included.

Results: Both CXL protocols were effective and safe in stabilising keratoconus and improving outcomes. The adjusted mean changes (95% CI) in outcomes were better in standard CXL than in accelerated CXL [visual acuity gain, 10.2 (7.9-12.5) vs 4.9 (1.6-8.2) logMAR letters; pinhole visual acuity 5.7 (3.5-7.8) vs 0.2 (-2.2 to 2.5) logMAR letters; Kmax -1.8 (-4.3 to 0.6) vs 1.2 (-1.5 to 3.9)D; K2 -0.9 (-2.2 to 0.3) vs 0.1 (-1.3 to 1.6)D; MCT -3.0 (-13.7 to 7.7) vs -11.8 (-23.9 to 0.4) µm (p values for visual acuity, pinhole visual acuity, Kmax: 0.05)]. The frequency of adverse events at the 5-year follow-up visit was low in both groups [standard, 5 (5%; haze 3; scarring 1, epithelial defect 1) and accelerated 3 (3.9%; haze 2, scarring 1)].

Conclusions: Both standard and accelerated CXL were safe and effective procedures for stabilising keratoconus in the long term. The standard CXL resulted in greater improvements in visual acuity and keratometry.