Cornea Cross Linking
What is corneal cross-linking?
Corneal cross-linking is a new minimally invasive technology to treat progressive keratoconus, a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the typically round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and weakens, causing the development of a cone-like bulge and optical irregularity of the cornea and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery. In the past, keratoconus and ectasia could only be treated with rigid gas permeable contact lenses or corneal transplants. Corneal cross-linking with the only FDA-approved Avedro Photrexa products and KXL® System stiffens the corneas that have been weakened by disease or refractive surgery.
Corneal cross-linking using Avedro’s Photrexa products and KXL® System is a medical procedure that combines the use of ultra-violet (UV) light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops. The procedure works by creating new corneal collagen cross-links, which results in a shortening and thickening of collagen fibrils that leads to the stiffening the cornea. The actual procedure takes about an hour, but you will be at the office for approximately two hours to allow sufficient time for preparation and recovery before you return to the comfort of your own home. Cross-linking, which has been performed in Europe since 2003, is considered the standard of care around the world for keratoconus and corneal ecstasia following refractive surgery.
What can I expect from the procedure?
During the procedure
- After numbing drops are applied, the epithelium (the thin layer on the surface of the cornea) is gently removed.
- Photrexa Viscous eye drops will be applied to the cornea for at least 30 minutes.
- Depending on the thickness of your cornea, Photrexa drops may also be required.
- The cornea is then exposed to UV light for 30 minutes while additional Photrexa Viscous drops are applied.
After the procedure
You should not rub your eyes for the first five days after the procedure.
- You may notice a sensitivity to light and have a foreign body sensation. You may also experience discomfort in the treated eye and sunglasses may help with light sensitivity.
- If you experience severe pain in the eye or any sudden decrease in vision, you should contact your physician immediately.
- If your bandage contact lens from the day of treatment falls out or becomes dislodged, you should not replace it and contact your physician immediately.
Is cross-linking right for me?
If you answer “Yes” to any of these questions, cross-linking might be right for you.
- Are you over the age of 14?
- Have you been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus?
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the procedure hurt?
There is some discomfort during immediate recovery but usually not during the treatment. Immediately following treatment, a bandage contact lens is placed on the surface of the eye to protect the newly treated area. After the numbing drops wear off, there is some discomfort, often described as a gritty, burning sensation managed with Tylenol and artificial tears. If pain is severe, oral narcotic medications may be used.
Will anyone be able to tell by my appearance that i have had cross-linking?
No. There is no change in the appearance of your eyes following cross-linking.