Corneal crosslinking, also known as CXL, is an effective FDA approved treatment for keratoconus. Keratoconus is an eye condition where your cornea becomes thin and weak. This results in the cornea losing its smooth, dome shape and protruding outwards instead, creating a cone-shaped bulge. It can cause blurry and/or distorted vision, as well as a sensitivity to bright light. Keratoconus usually occurs in your late teens or early twenties.
Special contact lenses can be used to effectively manage keratoconus in its early stages. However, as the condition gets progressively worse over a period of 10 to 20 years, even contact lenses can end up becoming too uncomfortable and often fall out. A more effective solution is required to manage keratoconus in the long-term, and this is where CXL comes into the picture.
What is corneal cross linking?
Corneal crosslinking is a minimally invasive eye procedure that is regarded as one of the most effective treatments to strengthen the cornea. It works by stimulating the cornea to make new cross-links between fibers made of collagen, which are naturally found in your cornea, making the cornea both stiffer and stronger.
We achieve this by adding specialized eye drops that contain riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, before exposing your cornea to targeted UV light.
The entire procedure takes about one hour and is completely painless. You will be mildly sedated and your surgeon will administer eye drops that numb your eyes. Once this is complete, the first half of the procedure will involve adding the riboflavin eye drops, before moving on to the second half where we will focus on carefully using UV light to complete the treatment.
Will I need a corneal transplant?
Keratoconus develops over time and for about 15–20% of patients, the condition becomes severe enough that they eventually need a corneal transplant to restore clear vision. This procedure removes the weakened cornea and replaces it with a donor.
In some cases, CXL can prevent the need for a corneal transplant. However, if it becomes apparent after a few years that it still isn’t effectively managing keratoconus symptoms, a transplant can potentially still be performed safely if necessary.
Could it work for you?
CXL is suitable for most keratoconus patients over the age of 14. We are one of the only Eye centers in the San Antonio in the San Antonio area to offer this advanced treatment. You can rest assured that our experienced eye doctors will always carry out a thorough examination of your eyes to make sure you are a suitable candidate before recommending this procedure.
You will be pleased to know that the cost of the corneal crosslinking procedure is considerably less than a corneal transplant. We are here to help make your treatment more affordable by working with your insurance provider to reduce your costs.
To find out more, get in touch with our friendly team today.