What is Corneal Cross-Linking?
Submitted by Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center on June 26, 2017
Medical science is amazing! It’s crazy to think that a seemingly simple combination of vitamin B and ultraviolet A (UVA) light, when applied to the eyes, could actually help people escape the need for a corneal transplant. But for some patients this is absolutely true.
This amazing medical process is called corneal cross-linking (CXL). Our doctors at Atlanta Vision have embraced this FDA-approved technique to help keratoconus patients in Atlanta (often teenagers or young adults) find relief from the blurry vision they experience due to the progressive thinning of their corneas.
How Does CXL Work?
The goal of CXL is to strengthen the corneal fibers (the collagen cross-links) of a patient’s eyes that have begun to bulge into a slight or pronounced cone shape. The idea is that a stronger cornea will be able to maintain the proper spherical shape so light entering the eyes has a better chance of landing directly on the retina for clearer vision.
After analyzing the condition of your cornea, our doctors will determine if they feel you are a good candidate for a cross-linking treatment in Atlanta. On your procedure day your doctor will apply liquid riboflavin (a type of vitamin B2) to your eyes. These drops will either be applied directly to your eye’s outer surface (epithelium on/transepithelial) or after your doctor has removed a very thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium off). The type of treatment right for your unique eyes will be determined prior to your appointment.
Once the drops have been applied, your eyes will be exposed to a precise amount of ultraviolet A light. It is this combination that has been clinically shown to help strengthen the cornea.
Is CXL a Cure for Keratoconus?
No. There is no medical cure for keratoconus at this time. However, CXL treatments have been effective in helping slow the progression of the disease. Any treatment that can reduce or eliminate the need for a corneal transplant is worth considering.
To learn more about our CXL treatments in Atlanta or to find out if CXL is right for you or a loved one, contact us today to schedule an eye exam.