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Corneal Collagen Cross-linking for Treatment of Keratoconus

“Durrie Vision is proud to be the first practice in the midwest to offer corneal cross-linking to patients affected by keratoconus. As investigators in the clinical research studies leading up to the FDA approval, we played a key role in the development of this life-changing procedure and look forward to making it accessible to our patients.” – Dr. Jason Stahl.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a corneal disease that occurs when the normally round shaped cornea becomes weak and progressively thins, causing a cone-like bulge to develop. Patients affected by the condition experience reduced visual function with symptoms worsening as the disease progresses. If left untreated, a corneal transplant may be required. Cross-linking is a safe, effective treatment designed to halt progression of the disease and preserve visual acuity.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Halo and glare

Corneal Collagen Cross-linking:
The Only FDA Approved Therapeutic Treatment for Keratoconus

Corneal collagen cross-linking is a non-invasive procedure that combines the use of ultra-violet (UV) light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops. The treatment shortens and thickens the collagen fibers and creates new collagen cross-links, resulting in stiffening and strengthening of the cornea. Cross-linking is shown to:

  • Stabilize the cornea and stop disease progression
  • Improve corneal curvature
  • Preserve visual acuity in most patients, with some experiencing a noticeable improvement

Cross-linking is performed on one eye at a time. Though this is typically 3-6 months apart, it is not uncommon for the timespan to be a year. During this time a surgeon will closely monitor changes in the corneal shape and vision.

What to Expect on the Day of the Procedure

Though the procedure itself takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, plan to be at our surgery center for up to 2 hours to allow time for pre- and post-operative testing and instructions. You will need a driver to take you home.

Topical anesthetic drops will be used to numb the eye and an eyelid holder will be placed to keep you from blinking. A solution will then be applied to the cornea to help the surgeon remove the epithelium (the top layer of cornea).

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) eye drops are instilled at determined intervals until the corneal tissue is saturated. During treatment, an ultra-violet (UVA) light is turned on and additional riboflavin drops are instilled.

Post-Operative Care and Recovery

A contact lens is placed on the cornea immediately following the treatment. An experienced technician will go over all post-operative instructions and expectations. Patients should arrange to have a driver on the day of the procedure and for the one and four day post-operative appointments. Our goal is to ensure patients are able to resume normal activities as quickly as possible. This typically ranges from one to seven days.

Your Vision, After Cross-Linking

It is important to understand that corneal collagen cross-linking is not a refractive vision correction procedure. The goal of cross-linking is to stabilize the cornea, stop the progression of keratoconus, and prevent further deterioration of vision. Most patients can expect to still need glasses and/or contacts to correct their vision following the procedure. The cornea may continue to change for many months. During this time many patients require new glasses or contacts to accommodate the changing shape.

Future refractive vision correction procedures can be discussed with your surgeon once corneal stabilization has occurred.

To find out if corneal cross-linking is right for you, please call us at 913-491-3330 or click to request a complimentary consultation.