What Is Corneal Crosslinking?

Posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 by Dr. Binoy Jani

The team of doctors at Vista Eye Specialists pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of advances in our field. A leading edge treatment that has attracted a lot of attention from ophthalmology experts, particularly those that specialize in the treatment of keratoconus, is corneal crosslinking. Read on as our team explains what corneal crosslinking is and how it can help people diagnosed with keratoconus preserve their vision.

Understanding Keratoconus

Before we describe corneal crosslinking, let’s take a quick look at what happens to people with keratoconus:

In a normal, healthy eye, the cornea, or clear covering of the eye, is round. But in an individual with keratoconus, the cornea starts to weaken and bulge, taking on a cone-like shape. This is a problem because it deflects light entering the eye, and the light cannot properly focus on the retina. As a result, vision can be distorted or blurred. In mild cases, eyeglasses or contact lenses can help compensate for the visual impairment. But in advanced cases, visual aids may not help and other treatment options become necessary.

Corneal Crosslinking for Keratoconus

Corneal crosslinking is designed to strengthen the corneal tissue and stop the cornea from bulging. During the treatment, a special type of vitamin called riboflavin is administered to the cornea. Controlled UV light activates the riboflavin without disrupting the deeper structures of the eye. The riboflavin is thought to create new bonds between collagen fibers in the cornea, thereby stiffening the cornea and making it more resistant to bulging and distortion.

Depending on the patient and circumstances, the procedure may be performed with the epithelium, or top layer of corneal tissue, left intact (“epi-on” crosslinking) or removed (“epi-off” crosslinking). The treatment is not painful. One eye may be treated at a time or both eyes simultaneously.

Corneal crosslinking is not intended to reverse any changes that have already occurred. However, our doctors have found it useful to prevent keratoconus from worsening. We recommend it in early, mild cases of keratoconus.

Learn More about Corneal Crosslinking

If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus and want to learn more about corneal crosslinking, the team at Vista Eye Specialists invite you to get in touch. Please call or email us today to make an appointment with our doctors.