Corneal Cross-linking in Dallas
About the Benefits of Corneal Cross-linking
Corneal cross-linking is an FDA-approved, effective treatment for a serious eye condition called keratoconus. Corneal cross-linking has been approved by all 25 European Union nations since 2006. For patients who have keratoconus, the cornea thins and gradually grows into a cone shape, leading to blurry vision. Other symptoms of keratoconus include:
- Heightened sensitivity to light and glares, which can lead to problems when driving at night
- Growing need to change eyeglass prescriptions frequently
- Sudden decline or clouding of vision
Corneal collagen cross-linking is a reliable technique that is performed for patients with keratoconus across the world. Because the cornea is weak in patients with keratoconus, there are not enough cross-links or support beams. The cross-linking procedure works to add cross beams to the cornea. This stabilizes the area, allowing it to maintain its ideal shape and focusing abilities. The benefits of corneal cross-linking have been shown to last many years and, in some cases, the vision strengthening effects can be permanent.
Benefits of corneal cross-linking include:
- Preventing the progression of keratoconus
- Improving uncorrected visual acuity
- Improving corneal shape
- Reducing corneal astigmatism
- Improving overall quality of vision
- Giving patients a less invasive option to corneal transplants
- Enhancing patient’s tolerance to contact lenses
- Providing a quick treatment method
- Being effective for thin corneas
- Providing a safe treatment method
- Providing maximum eye protection
How Does Corneal Cross-linking Work?
During the corneal cross-linking process, we administer riboflavin eye drops (B2) topically and activate the eye drops with ultraviolet light. In order to do this, we must remove the epithelium, which is a thin layer of protective tissue that covers the cornea. The patient can also receive numbing eye drops and a mild sedative. They will lie on their back in a comfortable reclining chair while facing a soft blue light. When we do this procedure, it triggers the growth of collagen fibers to strengthen the cornea and protect vision. The treatment typically takes between an hour to an hour and a half. Patients should not experience any discomfort during the actual process. Some patients experience some discomfort after the procedure, but this discomfort tends to be mild.
What to Expect After a Cross-linking Procedure
Although this treatment works to treat keratoconus, it does not fully cure conditions like farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism. For this reason, patients will likely need to continue wearing glasses or contacts after the treatment. Some patients might be good candidates to receive an excimer laser treatment after the procedure, which can improve their vision and free them of the need to wear glasses or contacts.
We recommend patients refrain from wearing contacts during the week leading up to their treatment, but most patients can return to wearing contact lenses between two to six weeks after the procedure. This duration of time will vary for each individual, and we advise patients about their individual recovery plans.
It is recommended to have corneal cross-linking as soon as possible if you are diagnosed with keratoconus. If the patient delays receiving this procedure, they might need to receive transplant surgery instead. Corneal cross-linking is preferable to surgery for many patients because it does not involve surgical incisions into the eye or stitches, and it is fairly noninvasive.
Most patients discover that their vision declines slightly immediately following the treatment, but they should not let this worry them. This decline in vision tends to last for around three to six weeks, and patients notice the positive impact about four to eight weeks after the procedure. Patients will be pleased to find the most noticeable effects of the procedure after three to six months. The majority of patients who receive the treatment respond the first time and do not need a follow-up procedure, although some patients do require another treatment.