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Corneal crosslinking for keratoconus
- Posted on: Feb 10 2020
Keratoconus is an eye disease that affects the cornea, or front part of the eye, and distorts vision as it progresses. Tower Clock Eye Center offers several treatments for keratoconus, including corneal crosslinking, a novel treatment that strengthens the cornea in a safe, non-surgical way.
Keratoconus usually develops in people as they age through their late teens or early 20s. It can affect one or both eyes. The progressive eye disease weakens the fibers in the cornea and causes the normally round cornea to bulge out and form a cone-like shape. The irregular form of the cornea gets worse with time and distorts or blurs vision. Light sensitivity is also reported by some affected by keratoconus. It cannot be treated with glasses or contacts.
Corneal crosslinking, sometimes called CXL, strengthens the cornea and reduces the amount it bulges outward. Tower Clock Eye Center’s crosslinking treatment process is FDA approved and is often covered by insurance. Not all area eye care practices utilized the FDA approved version of cornea crosslinking, and they require patients to pay out-of-pocket for the procedure. When discussing corneal crosslinking with your eye doctor, be sure to insist on the FDA-approved version available at Tower Clock Eye Center.
Crosslinking is a minimally invasive procedure that is relatively simple. First, the surgeon will place numbing drops in the eye to allow for debridement – the process of removing the first layer of cells of the cornea – which is done manually. Next, a technician will apply riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops, followed by the use of a specific ultraviolet light shined directly into the eye. This UV light’s rays make the fibers shorten and stiffen, giving strength to the fibers in the eye; it allows new corneal crosslinks to develop leading to a stronger and more stable cornea. The purpose of CXL is to limit the progression of keratoconus and cannot fix the damage that has already been done.
This outpatient procedure takes about an hour to complete and has a very low rate of complications and risks. There is very little discomfort during the procedure. After the procedure is complete, patients may experience some light sensitivity, in addition to some general eye discomfort. Patients are advised to not rub their eyes for up to seven days after the crosslinking procedure.
Corneal crosslinking is the only procedure that prevents the progression of keratoconus. It will help prevent a corneal transplant, which requires surgery. After your CL procedure, your eyes may be sore and patients may require pain medication. Patients are given a prescription for steroidal and antibiotic eye drops to be used the next several days.
If you have questions about corneal crosslinking or would like to learn more, call our office at 920 499-3102 to schedule an appointment.