Corneal collagen cross-linking, also referred to as CXL, is a minimally invasive procedure that can provide real help for patients with keratoconus or other corneal disorders resulting from thinning of the cornea. The treatment became available in 1998 and has become the only method of stopping progression of keratoconus by strengthening the cornea. CXL procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis and can reduce the risk of vision loss. Some patients may even experience an improvement in their eyesight after CXL treatment.
Keratoconus prevalence is approximately 1 in 2000 in the US. However a number of studies put it as high as in 1in 400. Keratoconus is an eye disorder that causes the cornea to become thinner and to bulge outward from its original shape. This can reduce the ability of patients to see clearly and can result in progressive vision loss if left untreated. CXL procedure is ideal for treating keratoconus and may even reverse the progress of this condition to a significant degree.
How CXL Procedures Work
CXL procedure involves the application of liquid riboflavin, a form of Vitamin B, directly onto the surface of the cornea. Ultraviolet light is then used to activate the riboflavin and to stimulate the production of collagen fibers in the cornea. Collagen is a critical part of the tissues and support structures of the cornea. By promoting bonding of collagen fibers, CXL treatments can provide added strength and structural integrity to the natural curve of the cornea. Depending on the condition of your cornea, the top layer of corneal cells may or may not be removed prior to your CXL procedure. Your doctor will discuss your options with you before deciding on a treatment plan.
What to Expect from Your CXL Treatment
If you normally wear contact lenses, your doctor may recommend that you refrain from wearing them during the weeks leading up to your CXL treatment. The entire procedure is usually performed while you lean back in a reclining position. Your eyes will be treated with an anesthetic medication to prevent any discomfort during CXL. Liquid riboflavin will then be applied to your cornea. You will be asked to look up at a blue light for a specific period of time. The entire process will usually take between 60 and 90 minutes. Most patients will experience positive changes in the corneal structure within four to eight weeks after their CXL treatment.
A Proven Record of Success
Studies have shown that 95 percent of patients who opt for CXL to treat keratoconus experience no further progression in keratoconus, and therefore decreased risk of vision loss. More than 70 percent of those who chose CXL actually enjoyed improved vision after their procedure. CXL is a safe and effective way to stop the degenerative effects of keratoconus, and reduce the chance of needing a corneal transplant surgery. The results of CXL treatments are long-lasting, allowing you to enjoy stable eyesight for many years after your procedure.
At the Miami Eye Institute, we can offer CXL treatments tailored to suit your specific set of circumstances. Our talented team of vision experts will work with you to determine the most appropriate and effective solutions for you. Call us at 954-251-1802 to set up an initial consultation. We look forward to the chance to help you see more clearly every day.