PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy of blue-light scleral cross-linking as well as its safety in preventing retinal damage beneath the treated sclera. METHODS: Six rabbits were unilaterally treated with topical riboflavin (0.5%) and blue light (465 nm) on the equatorial sclera using a light emitting diode source with an exposure area of 9 mm in diameter. Four weeks after the treatment, the animals were euthanized and the exposed sclera and contralateral eye sclera excised for comparative testing of biomechanical rigidity and histologic retinal cellular damage. Extensiometry was performed to evaluate the stress-strain curve of treated versus untreated sclera, and light microscopy of the treated sclera and underlying retina were also comparatively evaluated. RESULTS: Blue-light scleral cross-linking showed a three-fold increased stiffening in all tested animals in the stress-strain curve. Histological investigation revealed no retinal damage in any of the treated eyes. CONCLUSIONS: Scleral cross-linking with riboflavin and blue light (465 nm) has a stiffening effect on the sclera without histological tissue damage to the retina.
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