What is Cross Linking?
Cross Linking is an exciting new development in the field of Corneal Surgery and is effective in the treatment of Keratoconus (degenerative thinning of the cornea).
Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) is a non-invasive treatment for keratoconus. CXL involves applying a photosensitizing solution consisting of Riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the cornea and exposing it to a low dose of ultraviolet light. The photosensitizer reacts with the ultraviolet light to create new collagen bonds (cross-links) throughout the cornea.
By creating new collagen bonds, CXL strengthens and adds resilience to corneas weakened by keratoconus. If performed early enough, CXL can counteract its effects and allow good vision to be preserved. In advanced cases, CXL can postpone the need for invasive corneal transplants and prevent vision from getting worse.
Usually, only one cornea is treated at one sitting. The treatment is performed under topical anaesthesia (using freezing eye drops). The surgeon removes the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium) and the eye is treated with application of photosensitizing Riboflavin eye drops for 30 minutes. The eye is then exposed to UVA light from a distance of about 5 cm for 30 minutes. The total treatment lasts about an hour per eye. After the treatment, antibiotic eye drops are then applied; a bandage contact lens will be inserted that will be removed by the surgeon during a follow-up visit. Protective
Eyewear, such as sunglasses should be worn for a few days until complete healing takes place.
Should I do it?
If you suffer from Keratoconus you have reason to celebrate with this recent breakthrough in eye surgery technology! Consult your ophthalmologist and discuss your suitability for this treatment without delay!