Keratoconus is a degenerative eye disease affecting the cornea, or clear covering of the eye. It causes the cornea to bulge out and assume an irregular, cone-like configuration. The change in shape interferes with the eye’s ability to focus properly.
Historically, eye doctors treated the visual effects of keratoconus with glasses or specialty contact lenses. These visual aids don’t stop the disease from worsening, and the most advanced cases of keratoconus required corneal transplant.
Now doctors have an exciting treatment called corneal crosslinking to slow or stop the progression of keratoconus and prevent the need for serious surgeries.
In this post, Dr. Ernest Kornmehl answers the most common patient questions about corneal crosslinking.
What is corneal crosslinking?
Corneal crosslinking is a minimally invasive treatment that uses a combination of riboflavin eyedrops and ultraviolet light to strengthen the collagen fibers in the cornea.
Is corneal crosslinking a cure for keratoconus?
There is no cure for keratoconus or any way to reverse the disease. However, corneal crosslinking can slow down the progression of keratoconus by strengthening the cornea.
Is it safe?
Yes. It was approved for use by the FDA in 2016.
Am I a candidate for corneal crosslinking?
You may be a candidate for corneal crosslinking if you have been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus, your corneas are not too thin or too steep and you are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
What can I expect during corneal crosslinking?
Prior to treatment, your eyes are numbed and you may be given medication to help you feel relaxed and comfortable.
First, the surface (epithelial) cells of your cornea are removed. Next, riboflavin (vitamin B12) drops are applied to your eyes. Thirty minutes later, an ultraviolet light is directed at your cornea. You are asked to look at the UV light for another 30 minutes. Afterward, a bandage contact lens is applied and left in place for roughly five days.
Can I go home after treatment?
Yes, after your treatment you can go home to relax. We will monitor you for a short period of time before releasing you to go home.
Are there any aftereffects?
After corneal crosslinking, you may experience sensitivity to light and mild discomfort. You should not rub your eyes for five days after the treatment. Severe pain can indicate a complication and should be reported to Dr. Kornmehl as soon as possible.
Can corneal crosslinking be repeated?
Yes, the treatment can be repeated if the initial session does not stabilize the cornea.
Where can I learn more?
For more information about corneal crosslinking, please contact our office today.