Purpose. To compare biomechanical effect, riboflavin penetration and distribution in transepithelial corneal collagen cross-linking with iontophoresis (I-CXL), with standard cross linking (S-CXL) and current transepithelial protocol (TE-CXL). Materials and Methods. The study was divided into two different sections, considering, respectively, rabbit and human cadaver corneas. In both sections corneas were divided according to imbibition protocols and irradiation power. Imaging mass spectrometry by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI-IMS) and stress-strain measurements were used. Forty-eight rabbit and twelve human cadaver corneas were evaluated. Results. MALDI-IMS showed a deep riboflavin penetration throughout the corneal layers with I-CXL, with a roughly lower concentration in the deepest layers when compared to S-CXL, whereas with TE-CXL penetration was considerably less. In rabbits, there was a significant increase (by 71.9% and P=0.05) in corneal rigidity after I-CXL, when compared to controls. In humans, corneal rigidity increase was not significantly different among the subgroups. Conclusions. In rabbits, I-CXL induced a significant increase in corneal stiffness as well as better riboflavin penetration when compared to controls and TE-CXL but not to S-CXL. Stress-strain in human corneas did not show significant differences among techniques, possibly because of the small sample size of groups. In conclusion, I-CXL could be a valid alternative to S-CXL for riboflavin delivery in CXL, preserving the epithelium.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)