If you’re one of the many people that suffers from keratoconus, chances are that you’ve heard something about a new treatment called corneal cross-linking. This procedure might sound complicated, but it is actually a quite safe, painless and effective method of stopping the progression of keratoconus. To explain the advanced technology involved, we’ve put together this helpful guide to treating keratoconus with corneal cross-linking. Read on to learn more about how this state-of-the-art treatment can protect your eyes and improve your vision!
What Happens During Corneal Cross-Linking?
Keratoconus is a relatively rare ocular condition that that causes the cornea to thin and warp, bulging outward. This makes it impossible for the eye to properly focus light into the pupil, resulting in blurry vision, headaches, and light sensitivity. Most recent research has shown that keratoconus is likely caused by hereditary factors and aggravated by secondary medical conditions, such as allergies or irritation. Some eyes lack the structural fibrils that stabilize the outer part of the eye, which causes the cornea to bulge.
Corneal cross-linking can help to strengthen the cornea with the goal of slowing or eliminating this degeneration, preventing further damage to the eye, and preserving clear vision. There are two basic types of corneal cross-linking:
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- Epithelium-Off: During these procedures, the fragile outer layer of the cornea (known as the epithelium) is carefully removed, allowing liquid riboflavin to effortlessly penetrate the corneal tissue.
- Epithelium-On: In this process (also called transepithelial corneal cross-linking) the epithelium is retained, which means that it takes longer for the riboflavin to penetrate the cornea.
No matter the specific process, corneal cross-linking aims to more strongly link the weak fibers that bind together the collagen fibers of the cornea. It can also be combined with traditional procedures, such as speciality contact lenses, to help you see better and more comfortably.
What Should I Expect When Treating Keratoconus With Corneal Cross-Linking?
Before you schedule an appointment for treating keratoconus with corneal cross-linking, your Optometrist will need to conduct a routine eye exam to assess your general health, measure the thickness of your corneas, and determine your eligibility for this cutting-edge treatment. A short assessment known as corneal topography will examine the condition of the surface of your eyes.
Most corneal cross-linking procedures take between one and two hours to complete, although the time varies depending on whether you are receiving the epithelium-off or epithelium-on version of the treatment. During this minimally invasive procedure, your eye doctor will apply liquid riboflavin drops to the surface of the eye. This is immediately followed by a carefully monitored ultraviolet light treatment, which helps to reduce corneal inflammation and thinning.
After the procedure, your Optometrist will prescribe a topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops to speed your recovery. They may also ask you to wear a bandage contact lens to protect your eyes. Although you may experience some irritation and itchiness in the next few weeks, your eye should fully heal within one week.
Contact Our Team
Now that you have read our guide to treating keratoconus with corneal cross-linking, it’s time to schedule your eye exam. Dr. Leonard has earned a reputation as one of the San Fernando Valley’s most experienced and knowledgeable keratoconus doctors. Our staff can perform a thorough eye exam and evaluate your eligibility for treating keratoconus with corneal cross-linking. If you want to take advantage of this exciting new treatment, please call us today at 818-891-6711!