The management of cornea blindness from severe corneal scarring, with the Athens Protocol (transepithelial topography-guided PRK therapeutic remodeling, combined with same-day, collagen cross-linking)
Anastasios John Kanellopoulos
Laservision.gr Institute, Athens, Greece; Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, New York, NY, USA; New York University Medical School, New York, NY, USA
Purpose: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of combined transepithelial topography-guided photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) therapeutic remodeling, combined with same-day, collagen cross-linking (CXL). This protocol was used for the management of cornea blindness due to severe corneal scarring.
Methods: A 57-year-old man had severe corneal blindness in both eyes. Both corneas had significant central scars attributed to a firework explosion 45 years ago, when the patient was 12 years old. Corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA) was 20/100 both eyes (OU) with refraction: +4.00, –4.50 at 135° in the right eye and +3.50, –1.00 at 55° in the left. Respective keratometries were: 42.3, 60.4 at 17° and 35.8, 39.1 at 151.3°. Cornea transplantation was the recommendation by multiple cornea specialists as the treatment of choice. We decided prior to considering a transplant to employ the Athens Protocol (combined topography-guided partial PRK and CXL) in the right eye in February 2010 and in the left eye in September 2010. The treatment plan for both eyes was designed on the topography-guided wavelight excimer laser platform.
Results: Fifteen months after the right eye treatment, the right cornea had improved translucency and was topographically stable with uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA) 20/50 and CDVA 20/40 with refraction +0.50, –2.00 at 5°. We noted a similar outcome after similar treatment applied in the left eye with UDVA 20/50 and CDVA 20/40 with –0.50, –2.00 at 170° at the 8-month follow-up.
Conclusion: In this case, the introduction of successful management of severe cornea abnormalities and scarring with the Athens Protocol may provide an effective alternative to other existing surgical or medical options.
Keywords: Athens Protocol, collagen cross-linking, cornea blindness, cornea scarring, photorefractive keratectomy, vision
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