Our philosophy at the ELZA Institute is that we don’t just use modern ophthalmology, we develop it, and this sentiment guides all of our work, including a recent experimental study that adds a new dimension to corneal cross-linking (CXL): CXL with riboflavin and sunlight. The findings were published this week in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.
ELZA’s Dr. Dr. Emilio A Torres-Netto, lead author of the study, explained, “CXL usually involves saturating the structural layer of the cornea, the stroma, with riboflavin, then applying UV light, focused on the stroma, to photoactivate the riboflavin, which then causes the corneal cross-linking reaction to occur. But instead of UV light, why not sunlight? Light from the sun also includes ultraviolet light, which is the reason why people’s skin tans in direct sunlight. Could sunlight feasibly also cross-link a riboflavin-soaked cornea?”
The research involved the examination of 52 porcine eyes and discovered that riboflavin-soaked corneas exposed to sunlight demonstrated an increase in stiffness. “CXL with riboflavin using sunlight has great potential. We found that corneas soaked in both 0.1% and 0.5% riboflavin concentrations, when subjected to sunlight, showed increased stiffness. These findings suggest a potential role for sunlight in corneal cross-linking procedures”, shared research group leader, and Medical Director of the ELZA Institute, Prof. Dr. Farhad Hafezi.
“We acknowledge that our study represents a single step in a long journey. Additional research and clinical trials are necessary to validate these initial findings and to ensure the safety and effectiveness of this technique in a clinical setting. Nonetheless, we believe this research could potentially contribute to the development of less invasive corneal cross-linking techniques. The use of oral riboflavin and fractioned sunlight exposure might be an interesting avenue to explore”, stated Dr. Torres-Netto.
This investigation of CXL with riboflavin using sunlight exemplifies the ELZA Institute’s commitment to advancing ophthalmological understanding and developing innovative treatment methodologies. We are proud to contribute to the evolving body of knowledge and look forward to our continued work in the field.