PURPOSE: To compare the outcomes of accelerated photoactivated chromophore for keratitis corneal cross-linking (PACK-CXL) as an adjunct treatment for bacterial keratitis (PACK-CXL plus standard antibiotic therapy) for patients receiving only standard antibiotic therapy. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of outcomes of patients with moderate infectious presumed bacterial keratitis (ulcer diameter 2 to 7 mm and stromal depth < 300 µm) were compared before and after initiation of a new treatment protocol of PACK-CXL in addition to standard antibiotic treatment. RESULTS: A total of 70 eyes of 70 patients were included: 39 eyes in the PACK-CXL plus antibiotic (PACK-ABX) group and 31 eyes in the antibiotic only (ABX) control group. The PACK-ABX group showed shorter times to complete reepithelialization (9.3 ± 6.0 vs 16.0 ± 12.7 days, P =.01) and did not require tectonic emergency keratoplasty (0% versus 19.4%, P =.006). The PACK-ABX group also showed a higher percentage of eyes with complete reepithelialization in 6 days or less (46.2% vs 6.5%, P <.001) and a trend for shorter hospitalizations (6.3 ± 5.0 vs 8.5 ± 4.5 days, P =.06). A multivariate analysis controlling for age showed that PACK-ABX treatment remained significantly associated with early ulcer reepithelialization (odds ratio = 0.09, 95% confidence interval = 0.02 to 0.48, P =.005). CONCLUSIONS: This study validates previous findings regarding the use of accelerated PACK-CXL in the treatment of bacterial keratitis. Adding PACK-CXL improved clinical outcomes (reducing healing time) when compared to antibiotics alone.
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