Treating Keratoconus with Corneal Cross-Linking
Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea, which is normally round, to thin and bulge into a cone shape. This altered shape creates distortions in the vision. To treat this, a corneal cross-linking procedure may be done. Corneal cross-linking, also sometimes referred to as CXL, is an in-office, outpatient procedure that helps to correct and strengthen the cornea after it has been affected by keratoconus.
What Is Corneal Cross-Linking, and How Is It Performed?
A corneal cross-linking procedure involves creating links between the collagen fibres in the cornea. It is done in two steps. The first involves applying liquid riboflavin to the eye’s surface followed by exposure to a UV light. This procedure is minimally invasive and is done on an outpatient basis. It is used to treat keratoconus, and occasionally other conditions that weaken the cornea.
There are two common types of corneal cross-linking. The first is Epithelium-off CXL. In this procedure, the epithelium is removed to allow the riboflavin to easily penetrate the corneal tissue. The second is an Epithelium-on CXL, also known as a transepithelial CXL. In this procedure, the epithelium is left on.
Who Are the Ideal Candidates for A Corneal Cross-Linking Procedure?
CXL procedures are more effective for individuals who do not yet have extensive corneal irregularity. When done early, a CXL procedure can stabilize and potentially correct the shape of the cornea helping to improve vision. Those who are considering undergoing Lasik may be pre-treated with a CXL procedure to strengthen the surface of the eye.
What Can I Expect Following Treatment?
The procedure takes 60-90 minutes on average. If you are undergoing epithelium-off CXL, your surgeon will remove the epithelial layer from the cornea prior to the rest of the procedure being performed. You will be placed in a reclining position when the riboflavin drops are applied, and after some time has passed, the thickness of the cornea will be evaluated, and UV light will be applied for a maximum of 30 minutes. A contact lens that will act as a bandage may be used, and antibacterial drops will be prescribed for you. 99% of patients will achieve an improved corneal shape.
Schedule A Complimentary Keratoconus Treatment Consultation with a Specialist at UELC
If you suffer from keratoconus, contact us to schedule a free Personal Consultation. We can advise you further about our corneal cross-linking treatments and whether you would be a good candidate. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to helping you restore your vision. For more information, visit our FAQ page.