Corneal Cross Linking
Vision in patients with keratoconus is typically blurry, even with glasses, due to the stretching or bulging of the cornea. The stretching continues to progress until the patient reaches his or her 30s’s or early 40’s. The corneal cross linking procedure serves a purpose of stemming the progression of keratoconus by stiffening and bonding the fibers in the cornea with the use of ultraviolet light.
The corneal cross linking keratoconus treatment can be extremely beneficial. For the first time, we now have an effective treatment that prevents keratoconus from getting worse. This treatment, when teamed together with Corneal Ring Inserts and laser shaping of the cornea, can often lead to a dramatic improvement in vision without the need for a corneal transplant.
The Corneal Cross Linking Procedure
The welding of the fibers that occurs during the corneal cross linking procedure has little effect on the clarity of the cornea, yet has been proven in many European studies to slow down and even halt the progression of keratoconus in 90% of cases. The procedure itself is simple: vitamin B2 is applied to the cornea, followed by exposure of the cornea to ultraviolet light for a short time. The light activates molecules called free radicals that act to weld adjacent fibers in the cornea, much like a coiled electrical wire. This process is similar to the one used in the creation of many of our modern polymers that are used to make many household plastics. It is also similar to the bonding procedure that dentists use to attach materials, such as those used in fillings, to our teeth. The whole process takes about one hour.