July 05, 2012
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Clinician announces study to evaluate iontophoresis for transepithelial collagen cross-linking

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ROME — A clinical study of iontophoresis as a means of enhancing riboflavin penetration into the corneal stroma during corneal collagen cross-linking will soon be under way, according to a speaker here.

“We have already obtained permission from the ethical committee and are ready to start,” Paolo Vinciguerra, MD, said at the joint Refractive.online and SICCSO meeting.

Paolo Vinciguerra

Paolo Vinciguerra

Iontophoresis is a non-invasive technique that applies a small amount of electric current to enhance ionized drug penetration into the tissue. It could help overcome the limitations of epithelium-on corneal cross-linking procedures by allowing the photosensitizing agent, and therefore ultraviolet light, to cross the epithelial barrier and penetrate more deeply into the stroma.

“The previous stages of our study seem to indicate that we can obtain biomechanical effects comparable to those of epithelium-off cross-linking,” Vinciguerra said.

The advantages of a transepithelial approach are a reduced risk of infection and haze, faster recovery after the procedure, and the ability to treat thinner corneas.

“The current protocol for transepithelial cross-linking is based on a specially formulated riboflavin solution containing enhancers to help penetration,” Vinciguerra said.

This approach has failed to show efficacy comparable to the traditional protocol. However, “the use of enhancers is not the only way we have to increase riboflavin penetration through the epithelium,” he said.

  • Disclosure: Vinciguerra has no relevant financial disclosures.