Corneal cross-linking is a procedure that strengthens the tissues in your cornea in order to prevent further deterioration from keratoconus. Learn more about this surgery and to find out if you may be a good candidate for corneal cross-linking.
The following article discusses the benefits of corneal cross-linking for people with moderate keratoconus.
Corneal collagen cross-linking is a medical procedure to treat progressive keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease that causes thinning and distortion of the cornea, leading to impaired vision. While usually affecting both eyes, it is not uncommon for one eye to degenerate faster. It involves a treatment of riboflavin eye drops and UV light to prevent further corneal deterioration.
Human corneas are normally spherical in shape. With this condition, the corneas bulge outward becoming more cone-like. As the condition degenerates, complications with vision increase. Fortunately, with proper treatment, there is minimal risk of a total loss of vision. The following section will discuss:
Cross-linking is suited for those patients where corneal alterations are minimal. If vision losses are severe or the cornea has drastically changed shape from advanced keratoconus, this intervention may cease to be an option. The purpose is to slow the progression of keratoconus. Your doctor will first have to assess overall eye health and measure corneal thickness to determine if you are a candidate. Topography of the cornea is a form of mapping to determine if the procedure is suitable.
The surgery should take approximately 1 hour to complete and is usually performed with mild sedative and numbing eye drops. In cases where both eyes require the procedure, the standard practice is to work on one eye and then continue with the other eye when the patient recovers.
The process involves a treatment where the patient's eye is saturated with riboflavin solution eye drops and treated with UV light to strengthen collagen fibers in the eye. The purpose of corneal cross-linking is to prevent further changes to the shape of the cornea and to slow down additional vision loss. An added advantage is that clinical studies show that it may prevent the need for corneal transplantation.
Common post-surgery symptoms for patients include:
Contact your eye doctor if you experience severe pain or other symptoms that suggest infection or other complications after the surgery. Speak to your doctor about the available post-operation options to treat pain and discomfort. Always remember to refrain from rubbing your eyes or touching the area in general.
Corneal collagen cross-linking is a unique intervention for moderate cases of progressive keratoconus where the cornea retains requisite thickness for the surgery. It is only effective for a patient who has not sustained significant vision loss or significant corneal alterations. With advanced keratoconus, this may no longer be a viable option. It is not a cure or a procedure to fix the condition. It prevents the condition from degrading.
Cross-linking involves a unique treatment where riboflavin eye drops and Ultraviolet light are utilized to prevent further deterioration of the cornea and to slow down visual deficits. Speak with your eye doctor if you have keratoconus and would like to find out more about this procedure.