What is keratoconus?
Keratoconus, pronounced (KAIR-ah-toh-KOH-nus), is a progressive eye disease that causes the normally round cornea to become thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. Keratoconus can form in one or both eyes and it’s usually diagnosed in younger patients. Many patients are commonly diagnosed with mild astigmatism at the onset of puberty, and are later diagnosed with keratoconus in their teens or early 20’s.
How does keratoconus affect my eyes and my vision?
Because the cornea is responsible for focusing light into the eye, any abnormalities can cause vision to blur. Common conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism can be caused by the cornea being too steep, too flat or football shaped. Since keratoconus caused the cornea to weaken to bulge into a cone like shape, vision becomes very blurry and very unstable. This can severely affect vision and make simple everyday tasks such as driving a car, reading a book or watching television difficult or impossible.
How is Keratoconus Treated?
When the disease is initially diagnosed, many patients will require glasses or gas permeable contact lenses in order to maintain clear vision. As keratoconus progressively worsens, Intacs are often required. Intacs are small sub circular rings that are inserted into the cornea that can help the cornea stabilize. If the disease continues to progress, a corneal transplant is required. However, Collagen Cross-Linking or CXL is now available, which has shown tremendous success in slowing or stopping the progression of keratoconus.
“What is Collagen Cross-Linking?
Collagen cross-linking or CXL for short, is a technique that utilizes vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and ultraviolet light develop cross links in the cornea, which helps stabilize the corneal tissue. This simplistic, yet effective treatment option has shown tremendous success in slowing or stopping progressive keratoconus and corneal ectasia. CXL is approved in most countries and is currently going through FDA studies throughout the United States.
LaserVue LASIK & Cataract Center is enrolled in the POCKET trial, which uses a short duration, high energy, epi-on method, which allows for increased patient comfort, a faster healing time and reduces the risk of complications.
How Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL) Performed?
CXL is performed as an out patient procedure. First, your surgeon will instill eye drops, which will help numb the cornea surface to help ensure comfort. Next, an eye speculum in used to help keep the eyes open during treatment and the first series of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) drops are administered. An ultraviolet (UV) light is shined into the eye, which causes the vitamin B2 to activate, which causes the collagen cross-links to form. Additional B-2 drops are placed within the eye during this outpatient procedure, which only last a few minutes.
How Effective Is Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL)?
Based on available data, research studies have shown that collagen cross-linking has been extremely successful in slowing or stopping keratoconus. Many patients also have improved vision after undergoing treatment.
How Long Does Cross-Linking Treatment Last?
Studies have shown that collagen cross-linking (CXL) can last a very long-time, and many doctors believe that CXL is permanent. In some cases, CXL may require a second treatment.[/accordion-item]
How safe is Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL)?
Since CXL is a non-invasive procedure, it is very safe. Newer techniques don’t require removal of the epithelium layer and allows for much greater patient comfort. This technique also allows for a faster healing time and reduces the risk of complications.
Can Cross-Linking Prevent The Need For A Corneal Transplant?
Many studies have shown that cross-linking can often prevent the need for a corneal transplant and allow patients to wear contact lenses or glasses more comfortably and safely again.
Can Cross-Linking Be Performed On Anyone With Keratoconus?
During your consultation, the doctor will determine if cross-linking might be an appropriate treatment option for you.
Does Insurance Cover The Cross-Linking Treatment?
Insurance generally does not cover the cost of collagen cross-linking.
Is Financing Available?
At LaserVue LASIK & Cataract Center, we believe that everyone should enjoy the reassurance that comes with collagen cross-linking. That’s why we offer multiple financing options that can help make CXL affordable for nearly any budget.