Corneal Cross-Linking Treatments for Keratoconus Patients
Corneal cross-linking, also referred to as CXL, is a procedure designed to strengthen the cornea and to provide relief for patients with keratoconus. The cornea is the outer most clear portion of the eye, where a contact lens rests. Epithelium-off CXL was approved for use in treating keratoconus by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2016, allowing more patients to take advantage of this innovative procedure. Here are some of the most common questions about CXL as a treatment for keratoconus.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a condition that affects the cornea and causes it to become thin and fragile. This can often lead to bulges that can obstruct vision and prevent the proper refraction of light on its way to the retina. During the earliest stages of the disorder, contact lenses and eyeglasses may be used to correct vision impairments caused by keratoconus. Before reaching later phases, however, advanced treatments such as CXL and corneal rings can be used to stop the progress of this condition and preserve eyesight for patients. These treatments may prevent or significantly delay the need for a total corneal transplant surgery.
What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?
Blurred vision and rapid changes in the degree of correction needed to achieve a clear view on nearby and far away objects are the most commonly reported symptoms of keratoconus in the early stages. Increased sensitivity to light and halo effects around lighted objects can also occur in patients with keratoconus. Some patients also experience headaches, itching or watering, and general irritation of the eyes. Consulting with a Houston eye surgeon as soon as you notice these symptoms can ensure an early diagnosis and more effective treatments for your condition.
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How Does CXL Work?
CXL procedures involve the use of riboflavin, one of the B vitamins, and the application of ultraviolet light to the cornea. This process stimulates the growth of collagen in the cornea, strengthening tissues inside the eye and allowing the cornea to heal and resume its proper shape. Two different types of CXL procedures are currently in use:
- Epithelium-off procedures are approved by the FDA and require the removal of the protective layer of tissue surrounding the cornea to allow riboflavin to absorb into the cornea more completely.
- Epithelium-on CXL procedures leave the tissue of the cornea intact and require a much longer application period to ensure full absorption of the riboflavin into the corneal tissues. These treatment methods have not yet received FDA approval.
When combined with Houston laser eye surgery procedures, CXL treatments can help restore vision and reduce other negative effects of keratoconus in individuals affected by this condition.
The Houston laser eye surgery team at Mattioli Vision Professionals can provide you with the most effective solutions for keratoconus and many other eye conditions. By entrusting your vision to us, you can enjoy worry-free vision without the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. We have performed more than 40,000 Houston LASIK procedures and have established a reputation for excellence in Houston LASIK surgery. Give our offices a call to set up a consultation to begin your journey to clear vision today.
Corneal Cross-linking FAQ
Is corneal cross-linking safe?
The success rate for corneal cross-linking is very high at 95%, with about 70% of patients experiencing decreased keratoconus and as many as 65% experiencing visual acuity. The procedures used at Mattioli Vision Professionals were approved by the FDA in 2016.
Does corneal cross-linking hurt?
No, the corneal cross-linking procedure isn’t painful at all. Before the procedure begins, your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic drops to keep you comfortable. During the recovery phase, some patients can experience discomfort, but this typically only lasts about 3 – 5 days.
How long does a corneal cross-linking procedure take?
Most procedures can be completed in about 60 – 90 minutes.
Plan Your Procedure
- Average Cost Per Eye
- From $7,000
- Recovery Time
- 5-7 days
- How Long It Takes
- 45 minutes
- Follow Up Time
- 1 day, 1week, and 1 month