Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease where the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. This cone shape deflects light as it enters the eye on its way to the light-sensitive retina, causing distorted vision. Symptoms can include blurry or distorted vision, increased sensitivity to light, and frequent changes in eyeglass prescription.
Traditional treatments for keratoconus have included corrective lenses and corneal transplant surgery for severe cases. However, a groundbreaking treatment is available that can halt the progression of the disease: Corneal Cross-Linking.
Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking, often abbreviated as CXL or just cross-linking, is a relatively new, minimally invasive procedure designed to treat conditions that cause corneal weakness, such as keratoconus and corneal ectasia.
In a healthy eye, the cornea – the clear, dome-shaped surface of your eye – maintains its shape and clarity thanks to a network of natural “cross-links” between its collagen fibers. These cross-links help the cornea resist deformation and keep it in its regular shape.
In conditions like keratoconus, however, the cornea weakens, thins, and bulges outward in a cone-like shape, distorting vision. This happens because the natural cross-links in the cornea’s collagen fibers are not enough to keep the cornea stable.
Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking aims to strengthen the cornea by creating new cross-links between its collagen fibers. The procedure involves applying riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops to the cornea and then activating them with a carefully calibrated ultraviolet (UV) light. This combination stimulates the growth of new cross-links, thereby stabilizing the cornea, slowing or even halting the progression of the keratoconus or ectasia.
Though the patient’s cornea may not return to its original shape, the procedure can prevent further deterioration of vision and reduce the need for corneal transplantation. As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved, so it’s important to discuss these with your eye doctor if you are considering Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking.
If you’ve recently received a diagnosis of keratoconus, schedule an evaluation at Sweeney Eye Associates promptly. By doing so, you can consult with their experienced professionals to determine if Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL) might be a suitable treatment option for your condition. Don’t hesitate, take the first step towards preserving your vision and improving your quality of life by contacting Sweeney Eye Associates for an evaluation today!