Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition that causes the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, to thin and weaken. This thinning leads to a cone-shaped bulge in the cornea, which can significantly impair vision. Corneal crosslinking (CXL) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help to halt the progression of keratoconus and preserve vision.
What is Corneal Cross Linking?
CXL is a treatment that strengthens the collagen fibers in the cornea. Collagen is a protein that gives the cornea its strength and shape. When collagen fibers are weakened, the cornea can become thin and bulge out. CXL uses ultraviolet (UV) light and riboflavin, a vitamin B2 derivative, to create new bonds between collagen fibers. This strengthens the cornea and helps to prevent further thinning and bulging.
Who is a Candidate for Corneal Crosslinking?
CXL is an effective treatment for keratoconus in its early stages. It is also an option for people with keratoconus who have had LASIK surgery and are experiencing corneal ectasia, a condition that can occur after LASIK when the cornea becomes weak and bulges out.
What are the Benefits of Corneal Crosslinking?
CXL can help to:
- Halt the progression of keratoconus
- Improve vision
- Reduce the need for contact lenses or glasses
- Delay or prevent the need for a corneal transplant
What are the Risks of Corneal Crosslinking?
CXL is a safe and effective procedure with minimal risks. However, as with any surgery, there are some potential risks, including:
- Haze or scarring on the cornea
- Loss of some vision
What to Expect During Corneal Crosslinking
CXL is an outpatient procedure that typically takes about an hour to perform. During the procedure, your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic drops. The doctor will then remove the epithelium, the outer layer of the cornea. Riboflavin drops will be applied to the cornea, and then the cornea will be exposed to UV light. After the procedure, you will need to wear protective eyewear for a few days to protect your eyes from UV light.
Recovery from Corneal Crosslinking
Most people experience mild discomfort and sensitivity to light after CXL. These symptoms usually go away within a few days. You may also experience some blurring of vision, but this should improve within a few weeks.
The Eye Foundation: Your Partner in Keratoconus Care
At The Eye Foundation, our team of experienced ophthalmologists specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus. We offer the latest CXL technology and techniques to help you achieve optimal vision outcomes. If you are concerned about keratoconus, please schedule an appointment with our expert team to discuss your treatment options.