PURPOSE: To compare the clinical results of accelerated corneal collagen cross-linking (ACXL) to standard corneal collagen cross-linking (SCXL) in progressive keratoconus by summarizing randomized controlled trials using a meta-analysis. METHODS: Trials meeting the selection criteria were quality appraised, and data were extracted by 2 independent authors. A comprehensive search was performed using the Cochrane methodology to evaluate the clinical outcomes of ACXL and SCXL for treating progressive keratoconus. Estimates were evaluated by weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for absolute changes of the outcomes during 12-month observation periods. Postoperative demarcation line depth was also compared. RESULTS: We identified 6 randomized controlled trials that met the eligibility criteria for this meta-analysis. SCXL resulted in a significantly better outcome in postoperative changes in best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (WMD = -0.02; 95% CI, -0.03 to -0.01; P < 0.0001); however, the small differences may not be clinically significant. ACXL provided a significantly better improvement of cylindrical refraction after the 1-year follow-up (WMD = 0.15; 95% CI, 0.05-0.26; P = 0.005). Demarcation line depth at 1 month after SCXL was deeper than that after ACXL (WMD = -102.25; 95% CI, -157.16 to -47.35; P = 0.0003). No differences in the changes in maximum keratometry, central corneal thickness, uncorrected visual acuity, spherical equivalent refraction, corneal biomechanical properties, and corneal endothelial cell density were found among both groups. CONCLUSIONS: An ACXL shows a comparable efficacy and safety profile at the 1-year follow-up, but it has less impact on improving best spectacle-corrected visual acuity when compared with the Dresden protocol. Overall, both methods similarly stop the disease progression.
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