Keratoconus management: long-term stability of topography-guided normalization combined with high-fluence CXL stabilization (the Athens Protocol)

J Refract Surg. 2014 Feb;30(2):88-93. doi: 10.3928/1081597X-20140120-03.

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate refractive, topometric, pachymetric, and visual rehabilitation changes induced by anterior surface normalization for keratoconus by partial topography-guided excimer laser ablation in conjunction with accelerated, high-fluence cross-linking.

Methods: Two hundred thirty-one keratoconic cases subjected to the Athens Protocol procedure were studied for visual acuity, keratometry, pachymetry, and anterior surface irregularity indices up to 3 years postoperatively by Scheimpflug imaging (Oculus Optikgeräte GmbH, Wetzlar, Germany).

Results: Mean visual acuity changes at 3 years postoperatively were +0.38 ± 0.31 (range: -0.34 to +1.10) for uncorrected distance visual acuity and +0.20 ± 0.21 (range: -0.32 to +0.90) for corrected distance visual acuity. Mean K1 (flat meridian) keratometric values were 46.56 ± 3.83 diopters (D) (range: 39.75 to 58.30 D) preoperatively, 44.44 ± 3.97 D (range: 36.10 to 55.50 D) 1 month postoperatively, and 43.22 ± 3.80 D (range: 36.00 to 53.70 D) up to 3 years postoperatively. The average Index of Surface Variance was 98.48 ± 43.47 (range: 17 to 208) pre-operatively and 76.80 ± 38.41 (range: 7 to 190) up to 3 years postoperatively. The average Index of Height Decentration was 0.091 ± 0.053 μm (range: 0.006 to 0.275 μm) preoperatively and 0.057 ± 0.040 μm (range: 0.001 to 0.208 μm) up to 3 years postoperatively. Mean thinnest corneal thickness was 451.91 ± 40.02 μm (range: 297 to 547 μm) preoperatively, 353.95 ± 53.90 μm (range: 196 to 480 μm) 1 month postoperatively, and 370.52 ± 58.21 μm (range: 218 to 500 μm) up to 3 years postoperatively.

Conclusions: The Athens Protocol to arrest keratectasia progression and improve corneal regularity demonstrates safe and effective results as a keratoconus management option. Progressive potential for long-term flattening validates using caution in the surface normalization to avoid overcorrection.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Cornea / physiopathology
  • Corneal Pachymetry
  • Corneal Stroma / metabolism
  • Corneal Topography*
  • Cross-Linking Reagents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Keratoconus / drug therapy*
  • Keratoconus / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology*
  • Riboflavin / therapeutic use
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Cross-Linking Reagents
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Collagen
  • Riboflavin