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Miss Nada Aldahlawi 

Research Topics and Related Projects:

A new method has been introduced for the treatment of progressive keratoconus using collagen crosslinking. Under topical anaesthesia, the epithelium of the cornea is removed or partially scratched, riboflavin is applied and the cornea is exposed to ultraviolet A-light (UVA, 365nm) for a duration of 30 minutes. This method results in crosslinking of the constituent molecules of the cornea, thereby increasing its strength by up to 300%. Despite its widespread clinical use, very little is known about how stability is conferred and, in particular, at what structural level crosslinking occurs. Some studies used X-ray scattering showed that molecular collagen structure is not affected by riboflavin/UVA crosslinking treatment. This led us to hypothesize that the crosslinking occurs between the surfaces of the collagen fibrils and the surrounding matrix. In addition, Meek and his colleague used absorption measurements to show that, contrary to some opinion, it is necessary to remove the epithelium to allow penetration of the riboflavin into the corneal stroma and that, although partial epithelial removal allows some penetration, this is uneven, and so is not a promising approach. This study will investigate other novel techniques to carry out crosslinking without epithelial removal.


King Saud University scholarship, £85,000, Collage of Applied Medical Sciences, Optometry and Vision department, 2014 – 2018

Research Team:

Dr Sally Hayes, Research Assistant, Cardiff University
Dr Ahmed Abass, Research Assistant, Cardiff University
Dr Philip Lewis, Research Assistant, Cardiff University

Research Collaborators:

Dr. David O’Brart, St. Thomas's Hospital, London, Corneal crosslinking