FACTS ABOUT CORNEAL CROSSLINKING
If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, you might be wondering what your treatment options are. One option to treat this corneal disease, which is characterized by an irregular corneal shape that can progress into a bulging cornea, is an innovative procedure called corneal crosslinking. Though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve this treatment protocol in the United States, many ophthalmologists in Canada and in other countries have been using corneal crosslinking to treat keratoconus for some time. Corneal crosslinking is available at the Canadian King LASIK offices.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Many experts believe that keratoconus is the result of weak bonds between the collagen fibers in the cornea. As the corneal fibers become increasingly weak, the cornea begins to stretch into an irregular shape. Over time, keratoconus can progress, eventually causing the cornea to bulge outward.
In its early stages, keratoconus can be treated with contact lenses. However, as the cornea continues to bulge outward, contact lens wear becomes impossible. In the past, the only treatment option was a cornea transplant. Recently, however, corneal crosslinking has been shown to be another viable treatment option, and it is growing in popularity.
The Corneal Crosslinking Procedure
The corneal crosslinking procedure involves applying riboflavin eye drops to the cornea. The riboflavin penetrates the stroma, one of the five layers of the cornea. The cornea is then exposed to a measured dose of ultraviolet (UV) light. The UV light stimulates the riboflavin, which, in turn, enhances the crosslinking between the cornea’s collagen fibers. The result is improved corneal strength, which has been shown to stabilize the cornea and even stop the progression of keratoconus.
It is important to note that while corneal crosslinking has been shown to be an effective treatment option for keratoconus, for certain people it is not the appropriate treatment — namely patients whose keratoconus has advanced too far to be treated using this protocol.
To learn more about corneal crosslinking and schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable ophthalmologist, contact King LASIK by calling (877) 551-2020.