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Keratoconus and Collagen Crosslinking (CXL)

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition where the front part of your eye, called the cornea, becomes thin and starts to bulge outward like a cone. This change in shape can lead to blurry vision and increased sensitivity to light and glare. It typically affects both eyes.

What is Collagen Cross-Linking?

CXL (Collagen Cross-Linking) is a procedure done in an office setting to strengthen the cornea. It involves using a special UV light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops. During the procedure, the UV light creates bonds between collagen fibers in the cornea, making it stronger and more stable.

CXL is important because it is the only treatment that can prevent keratoconus from getting worse. If left untreated, keratoconus can severely damage the cornea and may require a cornea transplant surgery, which is a major surgery. CXL can stop the progression of keratoconus in about 95% of people.

During the collagen cross linking treatment, your eyes will be numbed with eye drops. The surface layer of the cornea is removed, and riboflavin eye drops are applied. After the drops have soaked in, the cross-linking process begins with UV light and more riboflavin eye drops. A bandage contact lens is then placed on the eye to protect it while it heals.

It’s important to note that CXL doesn’t improve vision or replace the need for glasses or contact lenses. Its primary goal is to stop the progression of keratoconus and maintain the stability of the cornea.