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Subspecialties Cornea / Ocular Surface

Unlocking CXL’s Molecular Mysteries – With Mice

Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) with UV-A illumination and riboflavin is a useful way of increasing corneal stiffness to halt the progression of corneal ectatic disorders like keratoconus. But there’s still much to be learned about the cellular and molecular events that take place during CXL and afterwards – and plugging those gaps in knowledge has been difficult. Ex vivo testing fails to provide an accurate picture because hydration and preservation processes after enucleation change the properties of the tissue and affect the accuracy of the testing, and to date, only indirect (and often inaccurate) methods of determining the efficacy of CXL in vivo exist. But change is afoot; a group of Swiss researchers led by Farhad Hafezi have tackled the problem by successfully establishing a CXL procedure, in vivo, in mice and then developing tools to accurately measure biomechanical changes in the mouse cornea that are induced by the procedure (1).

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About the Author

Farhad Hafezi

Farhad Hafezi

As a post-doc, Farhad Hafezi identified a gene that can completely inhibit light induced retinal damage in mice. Instrumental in building IROC in Zurich, today his clinical focus is on corneal and refractive laser surgery and enhancing and extending the use of corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL); Farhad was a 2014 Carl Camras award recipient for this work

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